Tag: Birmingham City Council

Self-Storage on Montclair Allowed Despite Moratorium

A self-storage facility on Montclair Road will be allowed to expand despite a citywide moratorium on such businesses, the Birmingham City Council decided Tuesday.

The council voted to allow Montclair Storage to continue with construction on a 10,000-square-foot expansion to its current facility, which had been roughly halfway completed when the council enacted the moratorium last month. The facility currently operates in a building formerly occupied by the now shuttered Montclair Baptist Medical Center; the expansion would also be on that property. Read more.

Woodfin Brags on Birmingham Promise, Entreats Business Leaders to Work With the Internship Program

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin announced Tuesday that the pilot program of his Birmingham Promise Education Initiative had been successfully completed, though he entreated members of the city’s business community to partner with the internship program as it expands. Read more.

Birmingham City Travel Tops $250K

Open full Birmingham City Travel spreadsheet

Birmingham city employees spent $258,387.96 of taxpayer money on travel between Oct. 24, 2017, and July 19, 2019, an analysis of City Council meeting agendas reveals.

Close to three-fourths of that money, $186,011.87, was spent by the Birmingham City Council and its employees; the remaining $71,276.09 was spent by Mayor Randall Woodfin and his employees.

That amount does not include trips for which a final total has not yet been approved. Estimated costs for city-funded trips are approved beforehand by the council; after the trip, the council votes again to approve the actual amount spent. Approximately $40,000 in travel funds have been preliminarily approved, without follow-up, since January. 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

Self-Storage Developers Need Not Apply; Council Says Birmingham Is Off-Limits

The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to place a temporary moratorium on new self-storage, mini-warehousing developments in the city.

The ordinance halts all city involvement in the development of those facilities — including permitting and zoning — except in areas already zoned as M-4 (Planned Industrial) or I-4 (Industrial Park) districts. Read more.

Birmingham Council Increases Lodging Tax to Fund Tourism Efforts

Despite warnings that doing so might backfire, the Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to increase the city’s lodging tax.

The ordinance, which drew fierce criticism from local hoteliers, adds a $3 per night, per room surcharge to the city’s lodging tax code. The revenue generated by that surcharge is to be allocated “exclusively for sports and entertainment recruitment and development, tourism and infrastructure improvements.”

That surcharge is in addition to the city’s current 17.5% lodging tax rate, which is above the national average of 13.4%.

The ordinance was proposed — and at times angrily defended — by Council President Pro Tempore William Parker, who said the increase would add $4 million in annual revenue. Parker argued that this extra money would make the city “more competitive” in recruiting sporting events, which would in turn increase the city’s tourism. Read more.

Court Hearing Focuses on Alabama’s Minimum Wage Law

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Judges for the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Tuesday on Alabama’s minimum wage law.

The law was passed by the state Legislature in 2016, quashing an attempt by Birmingham’s city government to raise its minimum wage from the federal minimum of $7.25 to $10.10. The act gives that authority exclusively to the state.

Plaintiffs in the case argue that the law was racially motivated. But judges hearing the case Tuesday focused mainly on a procedural issue, questioning whether the lawsuit was properly filed against the state attorney general, the Associated Press reported. Read more.

Public Hearing Set on Proposal to Block New Self-Storage Developments in Birmingham

The Birmingham City Council will hold a public hearing next week to discuss a potential moratorium on new self-storage, mini-warehousing facilities in the city.

The proposal, spearheaded by District 5 Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, would halt all city involvement in the creation of new self-storage facilities — including the issuance of permits and zoning approvals — except in areas already zoned as M-4 (Planned Industrial) or I-4 (Industrial Park) districts. Read more.

Birmingham Councilor Suggests Calling in the Guard If Nothing Else Curbs Crime in the City

Birmingham City Councilor Steven Hoyt called on Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin today to change his strategies for fighting crime in Birmingham, even if it means calling in the National Guard.

Woodfin quickly shot down that idea, saying, “We will not be calling the National Guard,” and emphasized that most of the city’s homicides “are not random.”

“These are interactions between people who know each other,” he said.

Hoyt’s comments were sparked after a Monday night shooting in the city’s Belview Heights neighborhood left one man dead. The victim, 27-year-old Michael James Weeks, was the 60th reported homicide in Birmingham this year; seven of those homicides have since been ruled as justified.

That’s a marked increase from last year, which by June 18 had logged 50 homicides.

“I just need a new plan,” Hoyt said to Woodfin during Tuesday’s City Council meeting, arguing that residents are being “terrorized” by violent crime.

“My mother told me if you don’t know how to do something, ask somebody. Get some help … We did a couple of (crime) studies; it ain’t working. (We) brought a new chief in here; it ain’t working. So I’m just trying to figure it out … Maybe we need to call the National Guard in here to help us control this city.” Read more.