Tag: Birmingham City Council

Birmingham Council Passes the City’s Largest Budget Ever

The Birmingham City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve Mayor Randall Woodfin’s FY 2022 budget, making no changes to the proposal presented to them in May.

The $455.5 million budget is the city’s largest to date, indicating a predicted recovery from COVID-19’s impact on last year’s revenues. Woodfin has emphasized that the budget shows the city’s commitment to its employees, including a restoration of merit raises and longevity pay; and its allocations to neighborhood revitalization, including millions for street paving, blight demolition and weed abatement.

The budget does not include the $74 million in federal relief funding from the American Rescue Plan that the city received last month; it will receive a further $74 million next May.

Woodfin told reporters last month that the budget “doesn’t have any pain points” compared to the previous year, which had seen the city reduce or zero out its contributions to various external organizations, including the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Railroad Park Foundation and Alabama Symphony.

Those organizations were restored to their FY 2020 funding with the new budget, with two notable exceptions. The Birmingham Zoo and Rickwood Field were still allocated COVID-reduced funding — $500,000 for the zoo, down from FY 2020’s $1.9 million; and $50,000 to Rickwood, down from FY 2020’s $150,211. Read more.

Birmingham City Employees One Step Closer to Receiving Bonuses for Working Through Pandemic

The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday, approved Mayor Randall Woodfin’s proposal to give $5,000 to each full-time city employee and $2,500 to each part-time employee.

These one-time payments will total about $16.8 million, which will come from the city’s American Rescue Plan funding.

The premium payments, designed to reward employees for their work through the pandemic, still need to be approved by the Jefferson County Personnel Board, which will meet June 8. If that happens, city employees can expect payments by June 30. Read more.

Birmingham Seeks Dollars for Its Entertainment Venues

Birmingham will apply for federal relief for five city-owned concert spaces and museums that lost revenue during the pandemic.

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, established last year by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act, offers funding for COVID-impacted entities, public or private, including live venues, movie theaters, museums and live performing arts organizations.

The city will seek SVOG funding for Boutwell Auditorium, Sloss Historic Landmark Furnace, the Southern Museum of Flight, Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Arlington Historic House. Read more.

New Challengers Enter Birmingham City Elections

New challengers have emerged in Birmingham’s upcoming municipal elections, which will take place Aug. 24. Since late February, 10 additional candidates have announced runs for council seats, with some races growing rather crowded; one new candidate, meanwhile, has thrown his hat into the ring for mayor. Read more.

Woodfin Promises “Recovery and Restoration” With Proposed FY 2022 Budget

Looking at Mayor Randall Woodfin’s proposed budget for the 2022 fiscal year, it’d be easy to imagine that COVID-19 — and the havoc it wreaked on Birmingham’s city coffers — had never happened.

This year’s budget had dropped by nearly $29 million, largely the result of diminished business tax revenues. Woodfin’s proposed FY 2022 budget, by contrast, is the city’s largest to date. At $455.5 million, it’s nearly $3 million more than the pre-pandemic, $452.8 million FY 2020 budget.

In a call with reporters Monday afternoon, Woodfin said the budget “doesn’t have any pain points,” in contrast to the austerity of the previous year. And though city finance director Lester Smith stopped short of saying the city had made a full financial recovery — revenue from business licenses is down about $5 million from last year — the proposed budget casts a rosy light on the city’s post-COVID future. Read more.

Birmingham City Council Approves Incentives for HBCU Classic at Legion Field

Legion Field is adding another HBCU football classic to its schedule.

The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to approve an agreement with Morehouse College and Tuskegee University to host their annual match-up for three years, starting this October.

The deal calls for the city to provide up to $500,000 per year in incentives and in-kind services to host the event.

The Tuskegee-Morehouse Classic previously has taken place in Columbus, Ga. — but Mayor Randall Woodfin, a Morehouse alumnus, told the council that organizers “have not felt the support they need” to stay there.
Read more.