Tag: Birmingham City Council

Birmingham Council Passes Woodfin’s Budget Untouched; Police, Public Works, Youth Programs Biggest Winners

The Birmingham City Council has approved Mayor Randall Woodfin’s operating budget for the 2023 fiscal year. The vote, which happened during Tuesday’s regularly scheduled council meeting, was surprisingly low-key; the budget was approved with a slate of other routine items as part of the council’s consent agenda, with no changes from the budget Woodfin proposed last month.

That lack of controversy has become routine for the once-fraught budgeting process because of 2016 changes in the state’s Mayor-Council Act that prevent the council from altering the proposed budget without the mayor’s approval. While Woodfin had made mild compromises with the council over budgets at the beginning of his first term, his last two budgets were passed without any changes from his proposals.

At $517 million, the budget is the city’s largest ever, marking a $61.5 million increase from last year, thanks to a significant increase in business tax and licensing revenues. Read more.

Taxi Rates Increased to Offset High Gas Prices

The Birmingham City Council has approved an increase in taxi rates to offset rising fuel costs. The decision, which passed unanimously after a public hearing yielded no speakers, will add a $1 surcharge to every taxicab ride in the city through at least the end of the year. It’s the first time taxicab rates have been raised in a decade. Read more.

Should Taxi Fares Be Increased Because of Rising Gas Prices? Birmingham Sets Public Hearing to Decide

The Birmingham City Council will hold a public hearing on June 21 to discuss raising maximum taxicab fares in response to rising fuel costs.

District 5 Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, chair of the council’s transportation committee, said the council had been approached several times by local taxicab companies — mostly zTrip — expressing concerns over rising gas prices.

“Those are costs that are borne by the drivers, so they have requested that we revisit the ordinance that sets the taxicab fare and have specifically requested consideration of a temporary surcharge to address the increased fuel costs,” he said. Read more.

Birmingham Council Says ‘No’ to Storage Facility

The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to deny a rezoning request from developers of a proposed mini-storage facility in the city’s Oxmoor neighborhood after outcry from residents. The proposed development, which would have been at 801 Tom Martin Drive, would have repurposed a property vacated by the Internal Revenue Service in 2018. It would have created 166 new storage units for boats and recreational vehicles as well as a wash bay for those vehicles. Read more.

Woodfin’s Budget Proposal Would Increase Police Funding, Fund City Pay Raises, Neighborhood Revitalization, Transportation and Other Services

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin presented his “whopping” FY 2023 budget proposal to the City Council on Tuesday, describing it as a reflection of “an unprecedented time of investment and growth” for the city.

The $517 million budget is up roughly $61.5 million from last year’s budget, which at the time was the city’s largest-ever. Most of that money, Woodfin said, came from increases in business tax revenues — particularly business license revenue, which are projected to rise $23 million compared to last year. As a result, Woodfin said, “appropriations are up across the board.”

Roughly two-thirds of the budget would go toward personnel costs — a priority for Woodfin’s administration during the COVID-19 pandemic. Neighborhood revitalization, another of the mayor’s key issues, is also a focus, with $2 million earmarked for blight removal, $1.5 million for weed abatement and $15 million for street resurfacing.

The biggest increase in revenue would go to the Birmingham Police Department, which would receive $118.5 million — up $18 million from last year. Read more.

Woodfin’s Budget Proposal Would Increase Police Funding, Fund City Pay Raises, Neighborhood Revitalization and Other Services

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin presented his “whopping” FY 2023 budget proposal to the City Council on Tuesday, describing it as a reflection of “an unprecedented time of investment and growth” for the city.

The $517 million budget is up roughly $61.5 million from last year’s budget, which at the time was the city’s largest-ever. Most of that money, Woodfin said, came from increases in business tax revenues — particularly business license revenue, which are projected to rise $23 million compared to last year. As a result, Woodfin said, “appropriations are up across the board.”

Roughly two-thirds of the budget would go toward personnel costs — a priority for Woodfin’s administration during the COVID-19 pandemic. Neighborhood revitalization, another of the mayor’s key issues, is also a focus, with $2 million earmarked for blight removal, $1.5 million for weed abatement and $15 million for street resurfacing.

The biggest increase in revenue would go to the Birmingham Police Department, which would receive $118.5 million — up $18 million from last year. Read more.

Birmingham Council OK’s New Five Points South Restaurant Despite Councilors’ Fears

The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to approve a liquor license for a new Five Points South restaurant, Social, despite concerns from neighborhood residents and some councilors that the owners intend for the business to be a nightclub, instead.

Social will occupy the space previously held by Skky Lounge, a nightclub shut down by the council in 2017 after multiple shootings. The restaurant will be operated by Jeremy Williams, whose J Wings restaurant has six locations in the city, including at the Birmingham CrossPlex and the Pizitz Food Hall. Williams told councilors that the restaurant would serve “high-end” fare such as lamb chops, steak and lobster pasta, and he said he had built a “state-of-the-art kitchen” in the building’s lower level.

But several neighborhood residents expressed skepticism over the proposal and fear that Social would quickly become another Skky. Read more.

Water Board Asks to Oversee Housing Construction Near the Cahaba, Despite Its Fight for the Ability to Lighten Water Protection Rules

The Birmingham Water Works Board has asked the city to require developers of a property near the Cahaba River watershed to submit to board approval before beginning construction.

Arlington Properties plans to build a multi-family housing development at 4641 U.S. 280, a property that is directly adjacent to BWWB-owned Cahaba watershed lands. The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday approved rezoning the property from an agricultural district to a general commercial district. The BWWB is asking to have a say in the development’s permitting process.
“If this development is being considered for approval, we would request that the city require the developers to comply with Birmingham Water Works’ watershed protection policy and to submit the proposed plans and associated documentation to the BWWB prior to such approval,” April Nabors, the BWWB’s environmental engineer, told the council. “We just want to be part of the approval process.”

District 2 Councilor Hunter Williams expressed some skepticism about this request, in light of the board’s recent attempt to have conservation restrictions on its own watershed properties loosened. Read more.

Birmingham Council OKs New Districts Despite Dissent

The Birmingham City Council approved the redrawing of its district boundaries Tuesday to comport with data from the 2020 census, despite some councilors’ misgivings that the move will disenfranchise some voters.

Municipal law requires the redrawing of district lines after each federal census, which happens every 10 years. The goal of the redistricting is to balance the city’s population roughly equally among the nine districts, which each elect representatives to the City Council and school board.

But two councilors objected to the plan. Councilor Darryl O’Quinn said redistricting now basically invalidated the votes of thousands of residents whose districts changed. And Councilor Valerie Abbott objected to major sections of her area being shifted out of her district and other areas being added in. Read more.