Category: Birmingham City Council
The Birmingham Museum of Art will soon return several works of art to two Native American tribes that have requested them back. An ordinance passed Tuesday by the Birmingham City Council has cleared the way for the return of several items to the Tlingit and Haida tribes of Alaska. Read more.
The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday, approved Mayor Randall Woodfin’s proposal to give $5,000 to each full-time city employee and $2,500 to each part-time employee.
These one-time payments will total about $16.8 million, which will come from the city’s American Rescue Plan funding.
The premium payments, designed to reward employees for their work through the pandemic, still need to be approved by the Jefferson County Personnel Board, which will meet June 8. If that happens, city employees can expect payments by June 30. Read more.
Birmingham will apply for federal relief for five city-owned concert spaces and museums that lost revenue during the pandemic.
The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, established last year by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act, offers funding for COVID-impacted entities, public or private, including live venues, movie theaters, museums and live performing arts organizations.
The city will seek SVOG funding for Boutwell Auditorium, Sloss Historic Landmark Furnace, the Southern Museum of Flight, Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Arlington Historic House. Read more.
New challengers have emerged in Birmingham’s upcoming municipal elections, which will take place Aug. 24. Since late February, 10 additional candidates have announced runs for council seats, with some races growing rather crowded; one new candidate, meanwhile, has thrown his hat into the ring for mayor. Read more.
Looking at Mayor Randall Woodfin’s proposed budget for the 2022 fiscal year, it’d be easy to imagine that COVID-19 — and the havoc it wreaked on Birmingham’s city coffers — had never happened.
This year’s budget had dropped by nearly $29 million, largely the result of diminished business tax revenues. Woodfin’s proposed FY 2022 budget, by contrast, is the city’s largest to date. At $455.5 million, it’s nearly $3 million more than the pre-pandemic, $452.8 million FY 2020 budget.
In a call with reporters Monday afternoon, Woodfin said the budget “doesn’t have any pain points,” in contrast to the austerity of the previous year. And though city finance director Lester Smith stopped short of saying the city had made a full financial recovery — revenue from business licenses is down about $5 million from last year — the proposed budget casts a rosy light on the city’s post-COVID future. Read more.
Legion Field is adding another HBCU football classic to its schedule.
The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to approve an agreement with Morehouse College and Tuskegee University to host their annual match-up for three years, starting this October.
The deal calls for the city to provide up to $500,000 per year in incentives and in-kind services to host the event.
The Tuskegee-Morehouse Classic previously has taken place in Columbus, Ga. — but Mayor Randall Woodfin, a Morehouse alumnus, told the council that organizers “have not felt the support they need” to stay there.
Plans are moving forward to redevelop the former Ensley High School property as a 244-unit housing development. The Birmingham City Council approved an ordinance Tuesday selling the campus, which has been abandoned since 2006, to the North Carolina-based Zimmerman Properties for $50,000.
The city also will provide incentives for the project in the form of a grant of up to $1.5 million, some of which will come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Home Investment Partnerships Program. Read more.
The Birmingham City Council has delayed plans for the city to purchase and redevelop the Smithfield Community’s defunct Hill Elementary School property. Mayor Randall Woodfin’s office has proposed that the city buy the school and renovate it for workforce housing. But several councilors argued that they had not been adequately informed of the city’s plans for the property and demanded more information. Read more.
The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to rezone the Southtown Court housing project, making way for a mixed-use redevelopment of the property.
Now designated a “mixed-use downtown” district, the property, near St. Vincent’s Birmingham, will be transformed into a development that includes multi-family residential, hotel, office, retail/dining, medical office, parking garage and open space uses. Developers intend to turn the property into a “pedestrian-friendly corridor,” including pocket parks, green spaces and bike lanes.
Plans to redevelop the property, near where a 455-unit housing project now stands have existed in some form since at least 2008. Read more.
Masks will remain mandatory in Birmingham through May 24. The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to extend the city’s face covering ordinance, requiring masks in all public places to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Exceptions are made for outdoor exercise and eating or drinking at restaurants or bars. Religious worship services are also exempt, though the ordinance still “strongly encourages” masks in those settings.
The Birmingham City School Schools system also announced Tuesday that masks will be required in schools and all school-related events through the end of the school year to combat the threat from COVID-19.
The city ordinance received the support of Mayor Randall Woodfin and most of the council, with the exception of District 2 Councilor Hunter Williams. Williams argued that the ordinance would make Birmingham an outlier in Jefferson County and the state of Alabama as a whole, placing “undue burden” on local businesses. The state’s mask ordinance is set to expire Friday, and Gov. Kay Ivey has said she will not renew it. Read more.