Category: Birmingham City Council
Members of the Birmingham City Council clashed Tuesday over funding for the embattled Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority, which currently is mulling route cuts and fare increases within the city.
The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to allocate an additional $290,274.39 toward construction on the city’s Negro Southern League Museum. But many councilors, including those who voted in favor of the funding, weren’t happy about it.
“There are so many things that I vote on that I have to hold my nose while voting,” said council President Valerie Abbott. “Sometimes you have to vote for things that you don’t really want to vote for, but we need to complete this project.”
The Negro Southern League Museum, which first opened in 2015, is part of a downtown development that includes the adjacent Regions Field. But much of that building has remained unfinished since then, representatives from the city’s planning, engineering and permits (PEP) department told the council. With a new restaurant slated to move into the building, extra funding to complete construction was needed. Read more.
Birmingham is one month away from a citywide election that will not only determine the future of funding for city schools but also whether up to one-third of City Council seats change hands.
The election, which will be held Oct. 8, will determine whether to renew three ad valorem property taxes that benefit Birmingham City Schools.
Voters also will determine council members for districts 1, 6 and 7, replacing councilors who were appointed to the posts. Read more.
After last week’s slew of appointments, the Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to add even more members to the boards of directors for the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Read more.
Stressing the importance of diverse leadership, the Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to appoint a slate of new board members to both the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
Four BMA board members – Maye Head Frei, Mark Drew, Joel Piassick and current board chair James K. Outland – were appointed to second terms. Norman B. Davis Jr., BMA Director Graham Corray Boettcher described as “a supporter of the museum for years,” was appointed to replace James Hudson, who resigned from the board. Attorney C. Randall Minor will fill the seat vacated by Larry Thornton, who had served two consecutive six-year terms on the board.
The council also appointed 18 new members to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s board of directors on Tuesday. Andrea L. Taylor, the president and CEO of the BCRI, told councilors that the new appointees were “chosen in a period of some disruption and brouhaha that found us in a very awkward position as an organization.”
A self-storage facility on Montclair Road will be allowed to expand despite a citywide moratorium on such businesses, the Birmingham City Council decided Tuesday.
The council voted to allow Montclair Storage to continue with construction on a 10,000-square-foot expansion to its current facility, which had been roughly halfway completed when the council enacted the moratorium last month. The facility currently operates in a building formerly occupied by the now shuttered Montclair Baptist Medical Center; the expansion would also be on that property. Read more.
Despite looming service reductions from the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority, District 5 Birmingham City Councilor Darrell O’Quinn emphasized Tuesday that the city has increased its dedication to public transit.
“When you look at the big picture, the city of Birmingham is not backing away from its commitment to provide public transportation for its citizens,” he said. “We are actually providing more public transit.”
O’Quinn’s comments came after District 8 Councilor Steven Hoyt expressed concern over an upcoming “hiccup” for Birmingham public transit — namely, the BJCTA’s announcement that it would likely cut close to one-third of its service in the city starting Sept. 23.
O’Quinn described the BJCTA’s statements that it needs more money each year from the city as a challenge, but also said that it offered an opportunity to make Birmingham transit more efficient.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin announced Tuesday that the pilot program of his Birmingham Promise Education Initiative had been successfully completed, though he entreated members of the city’s business community to partner with the internship program as it expands. Read more.
Birmingham residents will head to the polls on Oct. 8 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. They also will be electing councilors. Read more.
Birmingham city employees spent $258,387.96 of taxpayer money on travel between Oct. 24, 2017, and July 19, 2019, an analysis of City Council meeting agendas reveals.
Close to three-fourths of that money, $186,011.87, was spent by the Birmingham City Council and its employees; the remaining $71,276.09 was spent by Mayor Randall Woodfin and his employees.
That amount does not include trips for which a final total has not yet been approved. Estimated costs for city-funded trips are approved beforehand by the council; after the trip, the council votes again to approve the actual amount spent. Approximately $40,000 in travel funds have been preliminarily approved, without follow-up, since January. Read more.