Tag: Birmingham City Budget

Birmingham’s Coronavirus Response Includes Loan Program for Small Businesses, Increased Funding for First Responders

The Birmingham City Council will vote next Tuesday on an ordinance that would provide emergency loans to certain small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic — but the program will need additional votes next week to take effect.

The loan program would allocate nearly $1.2 million to revenue-generating small businesses affected by the novel coronavirus; individual businesses would be eligible for up to $25,000 in loans, with an anticipated average of $10,000 per business. The funding would come largely from the city’s general fund, which would contribute $1 million; the remaining $200,000 would be provided by the city’s Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity.

“Part of what we have to do is bridge small businesses into a new economic environment in what is really a turbulent time,” Dr. Josh Carpenter, the city’s director of innovation and opportunity, told the council Tuesday morning. Read more.

‘Lean’ $451 Million Birmingham City Budget Passes After Debates Over School, Discretionary Funding

Minutes after the Birmingham City Council voted 7-1 to pass the city’s budget for the 2020 fiscal year, Mayor Randall Woodfin stepped out onto City Hall’s third-floor terrace with a smile on his face.

“Did it take longer than I wanted it to?” he asked. “Yes. But am I glad it passed? Yes.”

Woodfin presented his original $451 million budget proposal to the council May 14, calling it a “fundamental shift” for the city’s budgeting process. “It’s as lean as they come,” he said then, arguing that the budget reflected his administration’s “moral obligations’ to prioritize neighborhood revitalization and city employees’ pension fund.

“During my (mayoral) campaign, I said we’d engage councilors on shared priorities and aligning our priorities, and then focus on finding money to support those priorities,” he said Tuesday. “Each councilor told me their top three, and I’m happy to say that for each councilor, at a minimum two of their priorities are in this budget. It wasn’t just what the mayor’s office wanted, it was collectively what the 10 of us, the mayor and council, wanted.”

But the budget process proved difficult, largely due to controversies over its’ cutting a slew of line items and instead giving each councilor an additional $50,000 in discretionary funding. Woodfin’s plan to reallocate $2 million from Birmingham City Schools to his new Birmingham Promise apprenticeship program also garnered debate, despite the support of BCS Superintendent Lisa Herring and a majority of the city’s school board.

But the budget was passed relatively smoothly at Tuesday’s council meeting, with only one dissenting vote: District 8 Councilor Steven Hoyt. District 9 Councilor John Hilliard was absent. Read more.

Previous budget stories:

Woodfin’s Budget: Money for Pensions, Paving; Changes for Education, Discretionary Projects

Birmingham School Officials Say Schools Can Work Around Woodfin’s Proposed Budget Cut

Birmingham School Officials Say Schools Can Work Around Woodfin’s Proposed Budget Cut

Birmingham City School Superintendent Lisa Herring said Tuesday that, although she’s not sure where BCS will go to make up the $2 million that Mayor Randall Woodfin is proposing to cut from the school’s budget, she’s confident “it doesn’t put the district in a state of distress.”

Woodfin’s budget proposal would cut the city’s funding for schools from $3.2 million to $1 million, shifting $2 million into a fund for the Birmingham Promise Education Initiative, a public-private apprenticeship and scholarship program.

In previous years, BCS has spent the $3 million allocation from the city on community-based and outreach programs through the schools; one-time purchases to meet security needs, such as metal detectors; and on personnel, athletics and academics, Herring said.

The city board of education in a letter to the mayor and council expressed support for the Birmingham Promise program but asked that the $2 million cut be reconsidered in the future.

Herring echoed that idea in an interview with BirminghamWatch, saying she understood the Birmingham Promise initiative would have a direct impact on students.

“We are aware that we are talking about an amount in which, given the overall budget of our organization, there is space for us to have recovery,” Herring said.

Several school board members also said they can deal with the cut, though some said they wish they didn’t have to. Read more.

Also Tuesday:

Woodfin Defends Proposed Cut to Education Budget

Woodfin’s Decisions for Extra Funding Delayed for Council Discussion

The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to delay $5.5 million in funding measures that Mayor Randall Woodfin said would address “critical needs” in a handful of city departments. The proposals will instead go before the council’s Committee of the Whole when it meets Wednesday.

That $5.5 million would come from projected increases in use tax and occupational tax revenue, said Director of Finance Chaz Mitchell, who assured councilors that those projections were “very conservative.”

But several councilors, including District 2 Councilor Hunter Williams and District 8 Councilor Steven Hoyt, said that the council had not been adequately informed of the proposed expenditures. 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.

This year’s Birmingham City Budget Finally Set for a Vote

Dec. 11, 2017 — Now that Mayor Randall Woodfin has had a chance to read and make comments on the budget, the Birmingham City Council is poised Tuesday to finally pass a budget for the 2018 fiscal year, which began on July 1.

During a joint meeting of the council’s committee of the whole and its budget and finance committee, the council reviewed Woodfin’s proposed changes to the budget — labeled on a handout as the “Mayor’s Compromise.” After some discussion over Woodfin’s decision to cut funding to the Birmingham Construction Industry Authority, councilors indicated they were prepared to pass the budget during the Dec. 12 council meeting
Woodfin encouraged councilors to pass the budget Tuesday, saying that passing the budget would enable discussions for the FY 2019 budget to begin. “I’m ready to start having those conversations Wednesday,” he said. Read more.