The program is designed to unify neighborhoods that previously have been displaced by discriminatory infrastructure decisions. The $1 billion initiative will fund projects that give people more access to their communities like paving more sidewalks, creating new greenways and adding public transportation. Read more.
Birmingham Council Passes Woodfin’s Budget Untouched; Police, Public Works, Youth Programs Biggest Winners
The Birmingham City Council has approved Mayor Randall Woodfin’s operating budget for the 2023 fiscal year. The vote, which happened during Tuesday’s regularly scheduled council meeting, was surprisingly low-key; the budget was approved with a slate of other routine items as part of the council’s consent agenda, with no changes from the budget Woodfin proposed last month.
That lack of controversy has become routine for the once-fraught budgeting process because of 2016 changes in the state’s Mayor-Council Act that prevent the council from altering the proposed budget without the mayor’s approval. While Woodfin had made mild compromises with the council over budgets at the beginning of his first term, his last two budgets were passed without any changes from his proposals.
At $517 million, the budget is the city’s largest ever, marking a $61.5 million increase from last year, thanks to a significant increase in business tax and licensing revenues. Read more.
After half a century, Americans’ constitutional right to get an abortion has been overturned by the Supreme Court.
The ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – handed down on June 24, 2022 – has far-reaching consequences. The Conversation asked Nicole Huberfeld and Linda C. McClain, health law and constitutional law experts at Boston University, to explain what just happened and what happens next. Read more.
UPDATED to include plans for city hall — With all the activity in downtown Birmingham scheduled during The World Games, some have wondered whether they’ll be able to get to government offices and other places they need to go.
The answer for the most part is yes, but it’s going to take some planning.
For instance, the Jefferson County Courthouse on Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard will be open during the Games, which takes place July 7-17.
“People will be able to get to the courthouse and the courthouse will be open,” Jefferson County Public Information Officer Helen Hays said. “It’s just not going to be easy. With security for the World Games, they’re blocking off certain streets around downtown. There will be barriers, but pedestrians will be able to walk past those barriers,” she said.
Across Linn Park, Birmingham City Hall will be open, but the city also is temporarily opening a satellite office during the games to handle some finance functions and permit applications.
The downtown branch of the Birmingham Public Library, which is across Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard from the courthouse, will be open during The Games. But the Avondale branch will be closed. Read more and see maps of road closures near the venues.
Katie Britt easily secured the Republican nomination to Alabama’s open U.S. Senate seat Tuesday, defeating U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks with 63% of the vote to his 36.99%. She will face Democratic nominee Will Boyd in the November general election.
Voting in Tuesday’s primary runoffs was light, with turnout of less than 12% statewide and just less than 11% in Jefferson County.
There were few problems at the Jefferson County polls, with the exception of the polling place in the Don Hawkins Park & Recreation Center. No ballots were available when the polls opened at 7 a.m., so election officials kept the polling place open until 8:30 p.m., giving voters who were unable to vote before work the chance to return to post their ballots.
On the Democratic ballot, Yolanda Rochelle Flowers took the nomination for governor over Malika Sanders Fortier, 55.15% to 44.85%. Read more.
North Birmingham residents looking to be relocated from their environmentally contaminated properties will have to continue waiting — though, Mayor Randall Woodfin assured them, that “long conversation” is far from over.
Charlie Powell, a longtime resident of the city’s Collegeville neighborhood, asked officials during Tuesday’s council meeting for an update on relocation efforts for residents of the EPA’s 35th Avenue Superfund Site, which includes parts of Collegeville, Harriman Park and Fairmont.
“I’ve been fighting this battle for 10 years, and I have some concerns from some of the people,” Powell said. “They want to know, what are the plans for the relocation that we asked for? … We’re right in the mouth of this thing!”
The area received the federal superfund designation in 2012 due to high levels of soil contamination. Read more.
Beavers do what beavers do, so Jefferson County has to do what it has to do.
During its committee meeting today, the Jefferson County Commission moved to its agenda a resolution to award a contract to Nuisance Wildlife Control for the removal of beavers from designated zones in the county as needed and directed by the county sheriff.
“It’s been an ongoing issue,” said Heather Carter, director of the county’s roads and transportation department. “Obviously, we have lots of areas of habitat and the little critters are industrious. Especially in the areas where we have more floodplain, they tend to get in there and dam things up.” Read more.
I don’t know how journalists writing about the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs abortion decision manage to meet their deadlines. They have to stop practically every other sentence to think and avoid words and phrases that are loaded like landmines.
I can’t think of any other issue in which the language has become so politicized. Journalists writing news stories seek truthful characterizations while steering clear of perceived partisanship. This may be impossible here. Read more.
World Games officials clarified that anyone will be able to walk through and access public areas around venues like Railroad Park, Linn Park, Protective Stadium and the new City Walk, despite those sites being behind security parameters. Read more.
Alabamians took to the streets this weekend after elective abortions became a felony in the state on Friday. Read more.
Unincorporated Jefferson County is not the only area that will likely feel the effects of rising waste management expenses.
Likely to also feel the pinch are cities in the Cahaba Solid Waste Disposal Authority, a consortium that handles garbage collection for its seven member cities and one other that contracts with it.
Hoover is a member of the authority. Hoover City Administrator Allan Rice said a meeting of the waste authority board is in the works to hear from AmWaste, which manages waste disposal for the authority.
“What they’re telling me is they’re going to request basically like a fuel surcharge,” Rice said. “Not a permanent change to the contract but an addendum that would allow them to charge an additional fee, which will be tied to fuel prices so that as prices escalate, it goes up. And as prices fall – if they ever fall – it goes back down.” Read more.
Pain at the pump will be felt at the garbage bin for residents of unincorporated Jefferson County.
The Jefferson County Commission on Tuesday approved an emergency contract amendment with AmWaste, the franchise holder for residential garbage pickup in unincorporated parts of the county. The amendment allows the company to establish its rates based on fuel costs, which are based on the Alabama Department of Transportation Fuel Index, and the consumer price index.
For instance, residential customers with regular trash pickup will see an increase of about $30 on their quarterly bills – $39 if they also have yard waste pickup. Read more.
Should Taxi Fares Be Increased Because of Rising Gas Prices? Birmingham Sets Public Hearing to Decide
The Birmingham City Council will hold a public hearing on June 21 to discuss raising maximum taxicab fares in response to rising fuel costs.
District 5 Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, chair of the council’s transportation committee, said the council had been approached several times by local taxicab companies — mostly zTrip — expressing concerns over rising gas prices.
“Those are costs that are borne by the drivers, so they have requested that we revisit the ordinance that sets the taxicab fare and have specifically requested consideration of a temporary surcharge to address the increased fuel costs,” he said. Read more.