Birmingham City Council

Birmingham Sets Elections on Taxes, New Councilors for Oct. 8

Birmingham residents will head to the polls in October to vote on the renewal of taxes that go to the city school system, but for citizens of Districts 1, 6 and 7, the election will have even higher stakes.

The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday evening to set the citywide election for Oct. 8.

That election’s stated purpose is to get votes on whether to renew several ad valorem taxes that benefit Birmingham City Schools. Those taxes, which are slated to expire Sept. 30, 2021, account for 53 percent of the city’s ad valorem property tax revenue and generate an estimated $27 million per year for city schools.

But the vote on renewing that tax also will trigger an election for the three City Council seats vacated last year, thanks to a provision in the state’s Mayor-Council Act. That law states that appointees to vacated council seats shall hold office until “the next election of any kind in which voters of the city to which this Act applies are qualified electors.”

That applies to council seats for three districts — 1, 6 and 7 — which were filled by appointees last year after their elected occupants resigned.

District 1 Councilor Lashunda Scales and District 6 Councilor Sheila Tyson both resigned in November after they were elected to the Jefferson County Commission. The council appointed Clinton Woods and Crystal Smitherman to fill their respective seats. District 7 Councilor Jay Roberson, meanwhile, resigned suddenly in August, citing his wife’s new job with Alabaster City Schools. He was replaced on the council by former Birmingham Board of Education President Wardine Alexander.

Woods, Smitherman and Alexander have all confirmed to BirminghamWatch that they will run to keep their seats.

According to Jefferson County public records, Smitherman will be challenged for her seat by Onoyemi “Oni” Williams; community activist Carlos Chaverst has also announced that he will run for the seat, though he has not yet filed official paperwork to enter the race.

Alexander will be challenged for her seat by Lonnie Malone; former Birmingham Fire Chief Raymond Brooks has announced he also will run for the seat.

No challengers have officially filed to run against Woods, although former school board Vice President Sherman Collins has announced he will run.

This story has been corrected to indicate that the election will be held Oct. 8.