March 28, 2017 – The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday approved a resolution to amend licensing regulations for “taxicabs and vehicles for hire,” in an effort to allow “low speed” services.
Ostensibly, this move opens the door for companies such as Birmingham Pedal Tours to begin the process of obtaining permits to allow their vehicles – oblong carts that are powered by groups of people pedaling and are electrically assisted – to begin operating in Birmingham.
The resolution also will allow for golf cart cab companies to be able to obtain permits.
As in other cities, Pedal Tours aims to take as many as 14 patrons on tours of Birmingham’s bars and breweries.
The actionable portion of Tuesday’s council meeting was brief. Most of the 73 resolutions were placed on the consent agenda and passed unanimously by the council.
Birmingham Urban League
A contract was withdrawn between the city and the Birmingham Urban League for an amount not to exceed $220,000 to facilitate “various economic development projects including economic revitalization, business growth, industrial development and job growth.”
Councilor William Parker briefly took issue when Council President Johnathan Austin referred a similar item, an additional $93,500 to the Urban League for “workforce development certification programs, educational enrichment and job training,” back to the economic development committee.
“Let me ask you: Has this not been in committee?” Parker asked. “It has. I know it’s been in the committee of the whole several times. I ran into several members of the Urban League on the elevator.”
Councilor Marcus Lundy informed Parker that was the previous item, which had been withdrawn from the resolution. The council then referred the $93,500 item to committee.
This move comes two weeks after the council initially requested the $220,000 contract for the Birmingham Urban League be delayed.
It is unclear why the resolution was pulled. Mayor William Bell did not respond to questions regarding the proposed contract.
“It’s the same as what we said two weeks ago,” Austin said after the meeting. “We see the problems surrounding the program that they say they are providing. But it’s not all clear to us as far as what they are doing. There are some issues with employees — I think it’s four — being moved from the mayor’s office to the Birmingham Urban League. (As for) the second item, that’s the first we’ve seen or heard of it, so we referred it to committee.”
The council also approved a total of $1.2 million in financial assistance, by way of a Community Development Block Grant, to the Green Meadow Apartments for a project consisting of the “acquisition and rehabilitation of a multi-family structure.”
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