Gerald Allen files bill requesting consolidated Tuscaloosa County government

Alabama Sen. Gerald Allen (R), who represents parts of Tuscaloosa and Pickens counties, has proposed a bill in Alabama’s 2023 legislative session that would merge Tuscaloosa, Northport and Tuscaloosa County into one “metro” government.

Why is this needed? It could help governmental operations and prevent overlapping services.

Several local officials think consolidating services could be a good idea, but they have conditions.

“I think some of that might be OK,” said District 6 Tuscaloosa City Council Member John Faile. “Merging the city of Tuscaloosa and the city of Northport at some point might be a smart thing to do, but if that’s done it should it should be done from the local leaders and certainly not from Montgomery.”

Currently, the city of Tuscaloosa has one mayor and seven city council members. Northport has one mayor, five city council members and a city administrator. Tuscaloosa County has one probate judge and four county commissioners.

District 1 Northport City Council Member Christy Bobo said she’s not opposed to the idea, but is surprised the bill was filed before it was discussed with city leaders.

“I think it’s a brilliant idea for us to always work together better,” Bobo said. “I am not so sure about the way it was introduced. I had not heard anything about it.”

Senate Bill 344 would propose an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 2022, relating to Tuscaloosa County, to authorize a referendum on the merger of the county government and the municipal governments of the city of Tuscaloosa and the city of Northport into an urban-county form of government.

If the bill moves forward the decision will be made by statewide vote in 2026.

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