Tag: Birmingham City Council

Birmingham City Council Approves New Stadium, in Theory

Feb. 6, 2018 — The Birmingham City Council voted today to support the construction of a new multi-purpose facility at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

The vote followed a lengthy back-and-forth among the council, Mayor Randall Woodfin and members of the public, with proponents arguing that the development will bring much-needed revenue into the city and opponents expressing skepticism about the necessity of the proposed 30-year, $90 million investment.

The BJCC expansion and renovation, which would include the construction of a new open-air stadium, would be funded by a mix of public and private sources. The city is slated to contribute $3 million a year for 30 years to the stadium; the BJCC Authority will pay $10.7 in annual debt service; UAB and private entities will contribute $4 million a year for 10 years; the Jefferson County government will pay $1 million a year for 30 years; and a proposed increase to the city’s rental car tax, still pending in the state Legislature, would account for $3.5 million in annual funding for 30 years.

Woodfin and Council President Valerie Abbott both emphasized that Tuesday’s vote was not for a specific contract or to allocate any funds, but rather a general statement of willingness to negotiate a specific plan. A Q-and-A between District 8 Councilor Steven Hoyt and Woodfin, published online Monday, highlighted that many of the details have yet to be set in concrete.

Woodfin compared the resolution to a marriage proposal. “A person asking you to marry (them) is very different from the process of a prenuptial agreement,” he said. Read more.

Council Moves Money From Legion Field Account to Lobby For Tax Increase to Fund Tourism and Economic Development

Jan. 23, 2018 — The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to reallocate $100,000 that had been earmarked for improving Legion Field to instead lobby in Montgomery for legislation designed to generate millions a year for the city.

Though the specifics of the legislation were not given during Tuesday’s council meeting, Councilor William Parker, chair of the parks and recreation committee, said after the meeting that one bill would be a proposed increase to the city’s automobile rental tax. Parker said the change could secure “millions of dollars for funding for tourism and entertainment and also for economic development opportunities … on an annual basis.” https://birminghamwatch.org/council-moves-money-legion-field-account-lobby-tax-increase-fund-tourism-economic-development/

Birmingham City Councilor Calls for Changes to Alabama Open Meetings Act

Dec. 19, 2017 — One Birmingham city councilor called Tuesday for a reevaluation of the Alabama Open Meetings Act, the state law requiring governmental meetings to be accessible to the public.

John Hilliard, the newly elected councilor for District 9, made his remarks at the council’s regularly scheduled meeting during discussion of an item that would allow members of council committees to appoint proxies when they are unable to attend a committee meeting.

The text of the resolution was not made available even to members of the council, and its sponsor, Councilor Lashunda Scales, was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

But before the council voted to delay the item, it became the springboard for a freewheeling discussion about the legalities involved with committee meetings. Read more.

To Uber or Not to Uber: That is the Question Before Birmingham’s Transportation Committee

Nov. 20, 2017 — Birmingham City Councilors say they may revisit the ordinance that allowed ridesharing company Uber to begin operating in the city.

During its first meeting of the 2017-2021 term, the council’s transportation committee — now led by District 5 Councilor Darrell O’Quinn — received a presentation from Stephanie Jones, a representative of Birmingham Cab Drivers United.

Jones expressed concerns about ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, which she said operated “under no rules, regulations, nothing.” In particular, she pointed to a perceived lack of accountability ride-sharing companies have to city governments, specifically regarding background checks — which, currently, are done in-house at their respective companies. Read more.

A False Start: Birmingham Council Brings up Budget Then Decides the Newly Elected Need More Time to Study It

Nov. 14, 2017 — A budget for the 2018 fiscal year came closer to passage than ever during Tuesday’s meeting of the Birmingham City Council, but consideration eventually was pushed back to December because of concerns that newly elected officials had not had enough say in the matter. Read more.

Birmingham Council Considers Pulling License of Onyx Lounge

Nov. 7, 2017 — The debate at Tuesday’s Birmingham City Council meeting was in many ways a retread of last week’s discussion, with approximately three hours dedicated to a public hearing on the potential revocation of a nightclub’s business license after reported incidents of violence and crime.
This time the venue in question was Onyx Lounge, at 615 Eighth Ave. W. The discussion drew a large enough crowd that, early in the meeting, the fire marshal refused to allow any more people into the council chambers. Read more.

Don’t Find Us on Facebook: Lack of Live Stream for Birmingham Council Session Draws Criticism

The Birmingham City Council drew criticism Wednesday after a committee meeting to discuss city finances was not streamed live on Facebook as advertised.

The Committee of the Whole meeting was dedicated to a presentation by Director of Finance Tom Barnett that summarized the state of the city’s finances.

Barnett said he asked that the meeting not be streamed because he wanted it to be “a casual conversation” between the finance department and the council, where they could be “free to speak their mind.”

Former Councilor Johnathan Austin quickly posted to Facebook that not streaming the meeting appeared to be an attempt to keep the public in the dark.

The meeting remained open to members of the public who attended in person. Read more.

Birmingham City Council Closes Skky Lounge, But Fractures Appear in Discussion Over BUL

Oct. 31, 2017 — The Birmingham City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to revoke the business license of a violence-prone Five Points South nightclub, but discussion over funding for the Birmingham Urban League drove the meeting in a much more contentious direction, revealing potential fault lines among the council’s new lineup. Read more.

Woodfin Names Leaders of Education and Economic Development Transition Committees

Oct. 30, 2017 — Mayor-elect Randall Woodfin announced new co-chairs of his transition team in a Monday morning press conference at the Alabama Workforce Training Center.

Perry Ward and Fred McCallum will serve as co-chairs of his Education and Workforce Committee, while Tracey Morant Adams and Josh Carpenter will lead the Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Committee. Read more.

Birmingham City Council Taps Abbott as President and Roberson as Pro Tem, Delays Adopting a Budget

Oct. 24, 2017 — Shortly after being sworn into office for the 2017-2021 term, the Birmingham City Council elected Councilor Valerie Abbott to serve as president and Councilor Jay Roberson as president pro tempore. The two will serve in the leadership roles through 2019.

Abbott defeated Councilor Steven Hoyt for the president’s position on a 5-4 vote, drawing support from Councilors Darrell O’Quinn, William Parker, Jay Roberson, and Hunter Williams. This will be her first term as council president; she has served as a council member since 2001. Abbott succeeds former Councilor Johnathan Austin in the position after his loss in the Oct. 3 runoff election.

Roberson was elected president pro tem, also by 5-4 vote. He defeated fellow nominee Sheila Tyson, with votes from O’Quinn, Parker, Williams, and Abbott. Roberson has been a councilor since 2009 and served as president pro tem from 2013 to 2016.

“The commitment that I make to all of you is that I’m going to be fair, and we’re going to follow our own rules to the best of our abilities,” Abbott said. “I appreciate the confidence my colleagues have shown in me. I know this is a big and very unusual thing for the city of Birmingham, so I am honored.” Read more.