The Decatur City Council on Monday decided the city could do a little better than "A little Different."

"A little Different" is a proposed brand for the city, selected by a local committee from among three options formulated by public relations firm Big Communications of Birmingham for the by no means small sum of $267,275.

If our reader response is representative, most Decatur residents think "A little Different" is the wrong message the city needs to send. Neighboring communities are growing, and Decatur is not. Right now what Decatur needs isn't different but the same, which means stressing there's no reason it shouldn't be sharing in the population growth happening elsewhere in the area.

City Councilman Chuck Ard said he sent 60 emails to constituents seeking a reaction to the proposed branding, and a majority were negative.

“My concern from the get-go is there wasn’t enough involvement from the people to know whether we’re getting a good option,” Ard said.

Not that we're thrilled by the other options Big has suggested: “Decatur Dreams” and “Better Not Bigger.” The former sounds like it's trying to distract from Decatur's reality, and the latter glosses over that getting bigger is exactly what Decatur is trying to do.

Ard said he would like for diverse groups to see a presentation on the three options and then seek feedback from them.

“The whole point is to get feedback as to whether the community will accept this or not,” Ard said.

The council discussed asking Big to make the presentations to the community groups, but Mayor Tab Bowling pointed out they would likely have to pay the company for each presentation.

Council President Paige Bibbee, however, said she isn’t sure Big would support more presentations since they were insistent they would come up with the branding campaign and then they expected to present it to the committee for approval.

So it looks like this is what Decatur has received in exchange for its $267,275 — two proposals that couldn't make it out of committee and a third the citizens of Decatur think is a dud.

Perhaps the solution here is to scrap them all, but there at least needs to be reconsideration of the suggestions. City Council members acted wisely in pushing back against a slogan that may fail to promote the city effectively. 

The council should stand firm if Big resists the request the rethink the potential slogans. Taxpayers deserve to have their money spent on branding that can attract new residents and visitors.

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(4) comments

Paul Serwatka

The fact that Decatur city councilman cannot see the absolute ludicrousy in spending $267,000 tax dollars on coming up with a slogan for the city of Decatur, should give fair warning to anybody considering buying or building in Decatur.

As a new resident of Decatur, myself, I am appalled to see such a foolish and reckless spending of taxpayer dollars! One can only wonder how much other tax dollars are wasted on ridiculous, frivolous, petty nonsense!

As a former city councilman, and mayor of a small town, myself, I am, frankly, embarrassed for any council members who voted in favor of this ridiculous waste of taxpayer dollars!

Chuck Johns

Contrary to popular belief, a "slogan", or "brand", or whatever you want to call it is just PR. It will take much more than PR for Decatur to grow. Let's look at the things that need to change; we can start with the bumbling bunch of clowns elected to run this hopeless burg. They spent a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS on "branding". In the real world, I think we all can agree, if you wasted that much of your employer's money, you'd not have a job any more. While discussing our political machine, let's not forget the way they push around residents to get more rooftops and more revenue to burn. Most of the residents of Decatur care about each other. Not so with City Hall. Decatur is not and never will be like Huntsville. Our city government should forget trying to do so and focus on who we are. We have a wonderful and historic position on the Tennessee River, a means for heavy transportation into and out of the area. The highways that that travel through us are a "Gateway to the West" and all other directions as well. There's still just a little Southern charm left here, that the mayor and council want to eradicate in favor of "young professionals".

We don't need luxury apartments built to house all the folks that WON'T be coming here for Toyota/Mazda. We need to focus on being Decatur. Just wish we had a local government smart enough to figure that out.

Lori Ray

"A Little Different" is "A Lot Wrong." If I say that something is a little different that usually means that I either don't like it or there is something wrong with it, I am just trying to be polite and not hurt anyone's feelings. Decatur needs to go back to the drawing board.This also makes me wonder why the city did not chose a local firm to come up with a slogan. There are firms in the city that are capable. What does it say when the leadership of Decatur does not feel that the local firms were capable of coming up with a new brand for the city?

Chuck Johns

Lori Ray, I think the folks in Birmingham that our politicians paid so much to recognized the people they were dealing with for what they are. You have to admit, our mayor and council are "A Little Different".

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