Category: Birmingham City Council

Birmingham Council Agrees to Fine for Covering Confederate Monument Base

Earlier this month, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin yielded to protestors’ demands to remove the controversial Confederate Soldiers and Sailors monument from Linn Park.

The statue was driven to an undisclosed location — for its protection, Woodfin said — and the city was promptly sued by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall for violating the state’s Memorial Preservation Act. Marshall has said he will be seeking a $25,000 penalty.

On Tuesday, the City Council voted to pay a different $25,000 fine associated with the Confederate statue — this one resulting from the actions of former Mayor William Bell, who ordered the statue covered by a black plywood barrier in August 2017. Read more.

Birmingham Set to Pay Fine for Covering Confederate Monument

Earlier this month, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin yielded to protestors’ demands to remove the controversial Confederate Soldiers and Sailors monument from Linn Park.

The statue was driven to an undisclosed location — for its protection, Woodfin said — and the city promptly was sued by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall for violating the state’s Memorial Preservation Act; Marshall has said he will be seeking a $25,000 penalty.

But Tuesday, the City Council will vote on paying a different $25,000 fine associated with the Confederate statue — this one resulting from the actions of former Mayor William Bell, who ordered the statue covered by a black plywood barrier in August 2017. Read more.

Avondale Added as the City’s Newest Entertainment District on July 1

The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to approve creation of the “Avondale Entertainment District,” a stretch of 41st Street South where, starting July 1, it will be legal to drink alcohol in public.

It’s the fourth such area in the city, following entertainment district designations for Pepper Place, Uptown and Five Points South.

“So far, this has been very successful for the city of Birmingham,” said District 2 Councilor Hunter Williams, who chairs the council’s public safety committee.

The Avondale Entertainment District will stretch along 41st Street South between Second Avenue South and Fifth Avenue South. It’s a busy corridor of bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues including Saturn, the Avondale Common House, Post Office Pies, Saw’s Soul Kitchen, Melt, Fancy’s on Fifth, the Marble Ring, Avondale Brewing Company, 41st Street Pub and Parkside. Read more.

City of Birmingham Facing ‘Economic Crisis’ Over Falling Revenue From Pandemic

Birmingham can expect an $18.3 million budgetary shortfall for the 2020 fiscal year because of the pandemic, Finance Director Lester Smith told the City Council Tuesday. And he warned that the economic impact on the city’s FY 2021 budget could be nearly four times that.

Mayor Randall Woodfin, calling the situation an “economic crisis,” said that the dip in revenue means “painful” budget cuts are likely on the way.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the city’s subsequent “shelter-in-place” order led to a significant drop in business tax revenue for the city, Smith said. That revenue, which includes sales, use and occupational taxes, typically accounts for 81.3% of the city’s overall budget. 
Read more.

Protestors Ask Birmingham Council to ‘Defund the Police’

Approximately 50 protestors gathered outside Birmingham City Hall during Tuesday morning’s City Council meeting, but most weren’t allowed inside due to concerns over social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, their voices, sometimes amplified through bullhorns, could be faintly heard throughout the meeting from outside, even as Mayor Randall Woodfin promised to “soon share a closer look at the processes and procedures at the Birmingham Police Department, including training and disciplinary actions for officers, adjustments within Internal Affairs and more.”

The voices outside were calling for a much larger step to be taken: for the City Council to “defund the police.” Read more.

Birmingham Requires Face Coverings Through July 3

Birmingham has extended its face covering ordinance through July 3. The ordinance requires all Birmingham residents to wear face coverings in public places to slow the spread of COVID-19. Read more.

Two More Weeks of Face Coverings Required, Birmingham Council Says

The Birmingham City Council has extended the city’s face covering ordinance for two more weeks. The updated order, now effective through June 12, also relaxes the original law’s controversial penalties for violation, which had drawn criticism from state and local leaders.

“What we’re doing is going to save lives,” Councilor John Hilliard said. “Just a sneeze on someone could kill them. Isn’t that incredible?” Read more.

Birmingham Extends Face-Covering Requirement Through May 29

Birmingham has extended its ordinances requiring face coverings in public places through May 29. That’s a week later than the May 22 deadline the council set last week, and councilors have suggested that further extensions are likely as the number of COVID-19 cases in Alabama continues to rise.

The face covering ordinance has been in effect since May 1. It requires residents to wear a device covering their nose and mouth to stymie the spread of the virus. Medical-grade masks are not required; scarves, bandanas or other fabrics will suffice. A document answering frequently asked questions about the ordinance, including a list of exceptions, is available on the city’s website.
Read more.

Two Classics? Birmingham Debates Whether to Bring Morehouse-Tuskegee Game to the City

The Birmingham City Council has delayed a proposal to bring a new football classic to Legion Field this October. Mayor Randall Woodfin’s proposal, which appeared before the council Tuesday, would make Legion Field the site of an annual football game between Morehouse and Tuskegee universities, two historically black colleges and universities. Read more.

Face Covering Law in Birmingham Extended Through Next Week; Curfew Lifted

Birmingham’s public safety curfew is no longer in effect, but the ordinance requiring masks or face coverings to be worn in public has been extended for another week.

The Birmingham City Council made those changes in response to Gov. Kay Ivey’s amended “safer-at-home” order, which went into effect Monday. The new order significantly loosened restrictions on public gatherings and allowing non-essential businesses, such as bars, restaurants and salons, to reopen “subject to social-distancing and sanitation rules.” Read more.

Restaurants, Gyms and Salons Reopening Slowly Under New COVID-19 Emergency Order