Category: Birmingham City Council

Birmingham Loosens Rules on Taxis to ‘Modernize’ Service

The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to “modernize” the city’s taxicab ordinance, loosening restrictions on the appearance of taxis and allowing them to use third-party GPS technology to calculate fares.

The change comes as traditional taxi companies compete against ride-sharing operations that aren’t under the same rules as cabs.

“The goal of this is updating, modernizing some of the (ordinance) to the way the industry operates now,” Assistant City Attorney Julie Barnard told the council. “There’s a lot of changes. The primary thing is, this opens the city up to more modern operations and taxis, and that’s the goal here.” Read more.

Birmingham Council Transfers Two Sewer Stations to Jefferson County

The Birmingham City Council has approved the transfer of two sanitary sewer pump stations in the city’s Fairmont neighborhood to Jefferson County. Operations of those stations already had been turned over to the county as part of a 1998 unification agreement, but the properties themselves had remained under city ownership. Read more.

Birmingham Council Revokes Crestwood Boulevard Motel License After Crime Complaints

The Birmingham City Council has revoked the business license of a crime-ridden Crestwood Boulevard motel. The USA Economy Lodge had been given eight weeks to fix its numerous issues — including drug trafficking, prostitution and damage to neighboring properties — which had led to 151 calls to police between Feb. 2 and Aug. 8. Read more.

Birmingham Promise Gets $1.8M Grant From Bloomberg Philanthropies

Mayor Randall Woodfin’s Birmingham Promise educational initiative has received a $1.8 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, it was announced Tuesday.

That grant will go toward the program’s apprenticeship initiative, which Woodfin said “will be used to help Birmingham City Schools high school students to start gaining work experience to gain career skills that will last them a lifetime.”

Woodfin also told the City Council during Tuesday’s meeting that Bloomberg Philanthropies’ “very vigorous vetting process … shows that this program is sustainable, and it’s a model for any city across America for how we should engage in partnerships to invest and give opportunity and exposure to our youngest generation and our high school students.” Read more.

Birmingham Delays ICE Agreement, Wants to Assure It Won’t Lead to Police Involvement in Deportations

The Birmingham City Council has delayed approval of an agreement with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement that would appoint several city police officers as customs officers for ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations jurisdiction.

The 3-year deal would provide for the continuation of a previously established task force that District 2 Councilor Hunter Williams said is focused on “combating both human trafficking and large-scale narcotics operations in the city of Birmingham.”

Mayor Randall Woodfin asserted that the agreement would not result in deportations or administrative removal of any undocumented Birmingham residents.

“I have stated on a pretty consistent basis that the city of Birmingham does not have any interest in doing the federal government’s job, but there’s something more powerful than words, and that’s, like, your actions,” Woodfin said. “We’re not here to do the job of deportation.”

But the association with ICE — and the unclear wording of the ordinance — left both advocates and councilors dubious of the proposal. Read more.

Three New Members Tilt Birmingham Council Toward Youth

Three new members of the Birmingham City Council took their seats for the first time Tuesday morning, a transition that some councilors suggested would usher in a new era of unity in city government.

J.T. Moore, Carol Clarke and LaTonya Tate were sworn in as the councilors for Districts 4, 8 and 9, respectively, replacing William Parker, Steven Hoyt and John Hilliard. The three newcomers didn’t say much during their first meeting at the dais, mostly issuing brief statements of gratitude and humility.

The council promptly turned to the business of selecting a new president and president pro tempore, a process that has been contentious in the past. Not so this time — District 7 Councilor Wardine Alexander and District 6 Councilor Crystal Smitherman were unanimously elected as president and president pro tempore, respectively, with no discussion and no additional nominations.

District 5 Councilor Darrell O’Quinn said the ease of that vote “sets an important precedent for us moving forward,” adding that he is “extremely optimistic that this group is going to be able to work together.”

District 3 Councilor Valerie Abbott was even more effusive, calling the new council lineup “a breath of fresh air.”

“I think this is going to be the best council I’ve served with,” she said. Read more.

Birmingham Council Says Goodbye to Three of Its Members

The Birmingham City Council bid farewell to three of its members Tuesday, as well as to outgoing city finance director Lester Smith.

Council President William Parker and District 9 Councilor John Hilliard lost their re-election bids in a runoff earlier this month, while District 8 Councilor Steven Hoyt decided not to seek reelection. Smith’s departure from Birmingham’s city government, meanwhile, was announced by Mayor Randall Woodfin at Tuesday’s meeting.

Parker was praised for his work to bolster the city’s entertainment industry, Hoyt for his Education with a Purpose scholarship initiative and Hilliard for his work in economic development. Read more.

No More Euphoria; Bham Council Revokes License of Infamous Club

The Birmingham City Council has revoked the business license of Club Euphoria, an Ensley nightclub deemed a “nuisance” by the surrounding neighborhood.

The council originally considered shutting the club down in June after repeated instances of gun violence inside and outside the club, including the June 13 killing of 21-year-old Euphoria patron Lykeria Briana Taylor. The council was split on revocation then, settling on a 13-week delay to give owners time to tighten up their safety plan.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Monica Hatcher, an attorney representing club owner Morris Bradley, told councilors that the club had “beefed up security” since June, including patrols around the surrounding neighborhoods to prevent club visitors from parking off-site.

But numerous residents argued that Bradley hadn’t done enough to address problems of parking and loud noise. “I have multiple documented occasions where the loud noise and the nuisance was such that neighbors were calling me at all hours of the night,” said Costella Adams Terrell, president of the Rising-West Princeton neighborhood association. Read more.

Birmingham Council Backing UAB Football With Ticket Buy

The city of Birmingham will purchase 1,000 tickets to every UAB football home game for a total cost of $100,000, the City Council decided Tuesday.

The tickets, which retail between $20 and $45 each, will be dispersed among city employees, youth groups and neighborhood associations, according to a resolution put forth by Mayor Randall Woodfin’s office.

The decision received pushback from the council’s two most senior members, outgoing District 8 Councilor Steven Hoyt and District 3 Councilor Valerie Abbott, who said the city already was supporting UAB football to the tune of $3 million a year and the money could be better spent on city services. Read more.