Category: Birmingham City Council

Birmingham Council OKs up to $1.762M for Shipt Expansion

A proposed incentives package for grocery delivery company Shipt nearly stalled over procedural questions at Tuesday’s Birmingham City Council meeting. But after an impromptu presentation by Mayor Randall Woodfin’s office, the council voted unanimously to approve the measure.

The incentives package gives Shipt up to $1.762 million from the city to “expand and grow” its Birmingham headquarters, according to the resolution. This will come in the form of reimbursing the costs the company incurs in finding and developing new hires . The city will pay Shipt $2,000 for each new employee, for an expected total of 881 employees. The average salary of these new jobs would be $50,000 per year, Shipt representatives told the council. Read more.

Birmingham Council Gives Go-Ahead to Negro Southern League Museum Restaurant

A new restaurant is officially headed to the Negro Southern League Museum.

The Birmingham City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a funding agreement for the city’s PACE Board to build out and lease the space in the museum to Michael’s Steak and Seafood — but not before taking time to address critics of the plan.

Council President Valerie Abbott started discussion by remarking that her office had received “a lot of email” regarding the deal. The main question, she said, was why Michael’s had been offered the deal — which includes two free years of rent — when other restaurants had not received offers from the city. Read more.

Birmingham Council Passes Budget Before the New Year Starts, for a Change

For the first time in several years, Birmingham’s city government will enter the new fiscal year with a budget already in place. During Tuesday morning’s regular meeting, the Birmingham City Council voted unanimously to approve the city’s FY 2019 budget, nearly two weeks before the fiscal year’s July 1 start.

That timely passage of the $436 million budget — the city’s largest to date — represents a victory for first-term Mayor Randall Woodfin and the current council. Budget delays in recent years often had been viewed as symptoms of a communications breakdown between Woodfin’s predecessor, former Mayor William Bell, and the council. But speaking after Tuesday’s meeting, Woodfin said the new budget represents a renewed focus on governmental cooperation.

“Collectively, the message we’ve sent today is, ‘We know how to pass a budget on time, thereby knowing how to work together, negotiate, compromise and communicate with each other,” he said Read more.

Birmingham City Council approves funding for metal detectors, enrichment programs for city schools

Security in Birmingham City Schools will be getting a boost this fall, after the Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to allocate $3,665,000 in funding to the city Board of Education.

According to the agreement, which was passed unanimously, that funding will be divided among school security, academic and athletic support, and after-school care and summer enrichment programs.

Of that $3,665,000 — which comes from the city’s general fund — $1,362,000 will go toward the purchase of 14 walk-through metal detectors, 20 handheld scanners, door alarms, security officers, and crossing guards and substitutes.
Read more.

Hey Brother, Can You Spare a Firetruck?

The Birmingham City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to provide the neighboring town of Mulga with one of the city’s surplus fire trucks, in a move the council referred to as “a great example of regional cooperation.”

Mulga Mayor Keith Varner said the deal happened as a result of discussions he and Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin had looking for ways to implement a “big-brother, little-brother” relationship between the two municipalities. Read more.

Birmingham City Council Appoints New PACE Board, Despite Reservations by Some

Birmingham’s controversial PACE Board is back in action after being defunct for nearly a year.

The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to appoint new members to the board in order to secure approval for a new restaurant at the Negro Southern League Museum, despite deep reservations by some council members over the board’s accountability.

The Public Athletic, Cultural, and Entertainment Facilities Board — PACE, for short — is a five-member board created by the city in 2011 to oversee development of Regions Field and the Negro Southern League Museum.

But the board drew ire from the council after construction costs for Regions Field went over budget by roughly $8 million, $4.1 million of which the council is paying off in installments through 2021. The rest of those costs were taken on by development companies Robins & Morton and A.G. Gaston Construction.

With Boost From City Council, Birmingham Students Can Chase a Coding Dream This Summer

The Birmingham City Council Tuesday approved funding for computer coding “boot camps” at Lawson State Community College this summer.

The funding, which according to the resolution is not to exceed $85,000, will fund four weeks of four-day camps for Birmingham City School students, running from June 18 to July 19. Up to 100 students of the city’s school system — 50 middle schoolers and 50 high schoolers — will get to participate.

Lawson State President Dr. Perry Ward said that the program would be similar to Chicago’s Apple-sponsored “Everyone Can Code” initiative, which teaches city school students an easy-to-learn coding language called Swift which can be used in developing mobile applications. Read more.

Neighborhood, Economic Development Groups Protest Woodfin’s Budget

May 14, 2018 – Mayor Randall Woodfin was not present Monday night at the public hearing on his proposed FY 2019 budget. If he had been, he would have faced complaints from a handful of organizations unhappy that their city funding had been cut or eliminated entirely.

The members of the City Council who were there — all but District 1 Councilor Lashunda Scales — appeared sympathetic to almost all of the parties who spoke at the hearing, and they even pledged to some organizations that they would advocate for them during the upcoming budget negotiations with Woodfin’s office.

Eliciting the most sympathy from the council were several neighborhood association officers, led by Central Park Neighborhood Association President Susan Palmer, who expressed anger that the new budget would cut funding to neighborhoods. Read more.