Category: Birmingham City Council

Budget Blows to Birmingham Schools and Transit Being Cushioned, Other Groups are Not as Lucky

Mayor Randall Woodfin defended some controversial cuts in his proposed FY 2021 budget Tuesday, arguing that, despite a significant drop in city funding, both Birmingham City Schools and the Birmingham-Jefferson Transit Authority would continue to operate as usual. Much of the money they lost will be made up by funds from elsewhere.

Many other groups, including the library system, zoo and Railroad Park, are facing much bigger consequences. Read more.

Woodfin’s Budget Features Pay Cuts, Furloughs and Funding Reductions

As promised, Mayor Randall Woodfin’s proposed FY 2021 budget is austere, thanks to financial pressures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The budget, which had been delayed by three months so that the city could calculate the extent of the economic damage caused by the coronavirus, includes salary reductions for the mayor and his appointees, furloughs for hundreds of city employees and reductions in funding to several entities.

But it continues funding for many of Woodfin’s signature issues, including neighborhood revitalization and the city’s long-underfunded pension.
Read more.

Birmingham to Pursue Tax-Credit Plan to Aid Development in Low-Income Communities

The Birmingham City Council approved on Tuesday the creation of the Birmingham Region Community Investment Cooperative District, a new legal entity designed to apply for and allocate federal new markets tax credits (NMTC).

This new organization will combine the efforts of the City of Birmingham, the Downtown Redevelopment Authority and the Commercial Development Authority in pursuing the tax credits, which can be allocated to fund small businesses and real estate development in low-income communities.
Read more.

Birmingham Council OKs Al Fresco Dining as Hail Mary for Restaurants

Birmingham restaurants will now be able to use sidewalks and parking spaces for outdoor dining, the City Council decided Tuesday. The decision, described by District 2 Councilor Hunter Williams as a “Hail Mary from the mayor’s staff,” is intended to give restaurants greater seating capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.

Birmingham Gives Tax Breaks for UAB-Area Student Apartment Project, Commission Expected to Follow Suit

The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to approve economic incentives for a new student housing development near the UAB campus, and Jefferson County commissioners indicated they would do the same Thursday.

The seven-story development, which is expected to house up to 400 residents, will be built atop a brownfield site bordered by 13th and 14th Streets South and Fourth and Fifth Avenues South. Read more.

Birmingham Council Finds a Power, Starts Making Board Appointments Before the Chairs are Empty

The Birmingham City Council may soon start making new appointments to city boards and agencies before incumbents’ terms are up, thanks to a newfound power several councilors appear eager to use.

The council previously had waited until after board members’ terms had expired to appoint their successor. In fact, several councilors, including Council President William Parker and District 8 Councilor Steven Hoyt, appeared to believe that was the law, only discovering that it wasn’t when Parker attempted to delay two mayoral appointments to the Birmingham Airport Authority. Read more.

Birmingham Council OKs Partial Transit Funding Under Protest From Hoyt

Despite delays in the city’s overall operating budget, the Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to fund the Birmingham-Jefferson Country Transit Authority through the end of 2020.

The city will pay the BJCTA $5 million dollars, divided into two quarterly installments of $2.5 million, “to make sure there’s no disruption in service at all” as the city enters for its months-long budget negotiations, Mayor Randall Woodfin said.

Councilor Steven Hoyt protested, saying the move was tantamount to cutting BJCTA funding in half, even as other councilors said the allocation was for only part of the year, and the BJCTA also would be included in the final budget when it is passed. Read more.

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.