Tag: Birmingham City Council

Confederate Monument in Linn Park Covered in Wake of Virginia Protests

Aug. 15, 2017 — Mayor William Bell had a Confederate monument outside Birmingham City Hall obscured by a wooden barrier Tuesday night while efforts are made to remove it.

But the state’s attorney general quickly sued the city and the mayor, saying the move violated a state law passed in the spring that says monuments more than 40 years old cannot be altered without approval from a new commission.

The topic of removing the statute was brought up during the Tuesday morning City Council meeting. Council President Johnathan Austin had called on Bell to remove the monument and others like it in Birmingham, calling them “offensive” and saying they “celebrate racism, bigotry, hate and all those things that the South has been known for. Read more.

Birmingham Council Delays Capital Projects for Lack of a Budget, Debates Unfulfilled Contracts

In its last regular meeting before next week’s municipal elections, the Birmingham City Council spent most of its time Tuesday directing key concerns on a variety of subjects toward Mayor William Bell.
The most notable of those discussions were about the still-unpassed FY 2018 budget and an unfulfilled construction contract. Read more.

Funding for Titusville Day Event Raises Questions at Birmingham Council Meeting

Aug. 8, 2017 — Tuesday’s mostly placid meeting of the Birmingham City Council was marked by questions over funding for community events in District 6. A resolution appropriating $10,000 for the 33rd Annual Titusville Day — a gathering organized by Councilor Sheila Tyson that took place Aug. 5, — appeared on Tuesday’s agenda.

Councilor Valerie Abbott expressed concern that money was being spent on the Titusville Day item despite lack of an approved FY 2018 budget. Council President Johnathan Austin responded that the council was spending based on the previous fiscal year’s budget until the new one passed.

Council President Pro Tem Steven Hoyt added that approval of expenditures before a budget was passed “just depends on who it is and what it is,” drawing chuckles from the dais.

“I got it now,” Abbott laughed. “At least you spoke truth to power, as you’re always saying.”
Despite questions about whether the item had been approved by the city’s law department, which it hadn’t, the item passed. Read more.

Birmingham Council Squabble Over Funds for District 4 Meetings Continues After Councilor Initially Refuses to Divulge Funding Source

Aug.1, 2017 — If Tuesday’s Birmingham City Council meeting presented municipal politics as a “game,” as Councilors Steven Hoyt and Lashunda Scales both put it, then the rules of that game and who was breaking them remained very much up in the air.

For the second week in a row, a large portion of the meeting was dedicated to enmity between Scales and Councilor William Parker over the latter’s request for discretionary funds to pay for meetings of District 4 neighborhood officers, volunteers and city officials with state and federal officials. One set of meetings would focus on “the preservation and maintenance of cemeteries in Alabama,” the other “regarding funding for infrastructure related projects.”

Both items were referred to committee last week after several councilors expressed concern that they had not been vetted through the proper channels and both were on Tuesday’s agenda. But Parker attending a meeting Thursday with Gov. Kay Ivey raised concerns with some councilors, particularly Scales, who grew frustrated as Parker repeatedly refused to answer whether city funds had been spent on the meeting.

“My response is simply that we had a meeting last week with the governor, the council referred the item, and this item was in the committee of the whole on Wednesday and is now back before us,” Parker said. Read more.

Bham Council Turns on Itself Over Issues of Favoritism and Skirting of Council Rules

Questions of protocol dominated a somewhat chaotic meeting of the Birmingham City Council on Tuesday, during which councilors argued over whether some agenda items had gone through appropriate channels – and, in some cases, accused each other of attempting to circumvent proper procedure.

“This is trickery,” Council President Pro Tem Steven Hoyt said at one point, and that sense of confusion and distrust hung over the entire meeting.

Hoyt was referring to a proposed resolution that would have rescinded roughly $22,000 in funding for the council’s discretionary contracts that had not been approved before June 30. Read more.

After Testy Debate, Bham Council Approves $4.3 Million in Loans and Grants for Ensley Seafood Distributor’s Expansion

The Birmingham City Council approved grants and loans to help Inland Seafood in Ensley expand. Company officials said the expansion would allow them to establish a job fair, farmer’s market and culinary training center and create up to 150 jobs over the next 10 years. But several councilors were skeptical about whether the expansion would benefit people in the community. Read more.

Birmingham’s Frequent Flyers: City officials have logged more than $300,000 in travel expenses. Where are they going — and what do they have to show for it?

An analysis of Birmingham City Council agendas from fiscal year 2017 shows city officials — not including the mayor — have spent or been allocated more than $300,000 in travel expenses since July 2016.

Officials using city money for travel include members of the City Council and its staff, mayor’s office staff, Police Chief A.C. Roper and two municipal court judges. A total of 73 individuals have received travel funds from the city during the past year. Read more.

Birmingham City Council Debates Cemetery Funding, Transparency at City Hall

Much of Tuesday’s Birmingham City Council meeting revolved around issues pertaining to what councilors have labeled “a lack of transparency” from city departments. At several turns, councilors engaged in lengthy deliberations on resolutions presented to the body without completed paperwork or records on topics from cemetery upkeep to land acquisition deals.
They also approved $35,720.19 in travel for the months of May and June for the mayor’s administrative assistants and some council employees. Read more.

Birmingham Council Opens Door for 27-Acre Humane Society Campus in Titusville

The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to transfer ownership of the 27-acre Trinity Steel site in the Titusville community to the Greater Birmingham Humane Society to develop a new animal care and control facility.

Despite several speakers who voiced opposition to the move during a public hearing, Councilor Sheila Tyson, who represents the district, said she supported the project because the majority of people she has spoken with support it.

“The community has voted yes for this three times,” Tyson said after the vote as people crowded the hallways outside the council chamber.

Before the vote transferring ownership of the property, the council also voted in favor of another resolution that rezoned Titusville land for residential use, potentially complicating the process the GBHS must go through to begin construction on the new facility. Read more.