Mobile moves up to Alabama’s No. 2 city

Annexation vote moves Port City population ahead of Birmingham

Mobile’s landmark RSA Tower now looks over a larger city.

Residents in three of Mobile’s west side suburban areas voted Tuesday to be annexed into the city — making the Port City the second largest in Alabama. Residents of a fourth area voted not to be annexed.

Huntsville moved into the top spot when U.S. Census figures were released in 2021, reordering the state’s cities with Huntsville at the top, then Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile and Tuscaloosa.

After the annexation vote, Mobile leapfrogged into second with a population of 208,830, so that Birmingham now ranks third and Montgomery fourth.

“You know, they’ve already been calling themselves Mobilians and now it’s official,” said Mayor Sandy Stimpson in a WKRG-TV interview. “They’re citizens of the City of Mobile and I happen to be their mayor.”

In the run-up to the election, the city council threatened that it might curtail the police, fire and emergency medical services it has been providing if voters chose not to become part of the city. While residents of the areas paid for the services, city officials said it’s been steadily more expensive to provide them.

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The mayor’s chief of staff, James Barber, told WKRG-TV news that access to those services was important to voters.  With their choice, he said, voters indicated that “We want to keep Mobile police; we want Mobile fire; we want Mobile emergency medical backup.”

Commenting after the election, Mayor Stimpson said EMS services should be available in the newly annexed areas as of today, that police patrols will begin as soon as possible and that garbage and trash collection services should begin Oct. 1.

“Today’s vote ensures Mobile can continue its long history of growing to the West while preventing us from becoming landlocked by surrounding municipalities,” Stimpson said in a prepared statement Tuesday night. “The neighborhoods that went to the polls today have made a decisive choice about their future.”

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