Tag: Birmingham City Council

Birmingham Council Strikes Deal With Developer on Red Mountain Land; No Development Plans Revealed

Despite misgivings from neighborhood residents and the councilor for the district, the Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to vacate 56,672 square feet of a road atop Red Mountain on behalf of a private developer.

The stretch of road is on Henrietta Road between 22nd Street South and the Red Mountain Expressway. The resolution also includes a 15-foot-wide alley off 22nd Street South. As a result of the resolution, both areas will no longer be designated for public use.

George W. Barber Jr. — who owns Barber Companies, a commercial real estate company, as well as the property surrounding the road and alley in question — will pay the city $146,717.25 in vacation fees.

Don Erwin, the vice president of corporate development at Barber Companies, did not share what future plans Barber has for the property. Read more.

Birmingham Council OKs Firehouse Funding After Contentious Meeting

More than a month after the Birmingham City Council rejected a five-year funding proposal for the Firehouse Ministries Homeless Shelter, it voted on the item again Tuesday — and this time, it passed.

The funding proposal hadn’t changed since it had last come before the council on Oct. 23; it still allocated $200,000 per year for five years to the Firehouse, which is building a $5.6 million facility to expand its services for the homeless.

But the council itself had changed drastically since Oct. 23, with two councilors leaving and another, District 7’s Wardine Alexander, being appointed in the interim.

The absence of former councilors Lashunda Scales and Sheila Tyson, who both resigned from the council in November to join the Jefferson County Commission, was likely the deciding factor in the proposal’s passage. Both had vehemently opposed the measure, citing unsubstantiated allegations that the Firehouse did not give black patrons equal treatment, and along with District 8 Councilor Steven Hoyt and District 9 Councilor John Hilliard, they formed the voting bloc that had initially blocked the Firehouse’s funding.

But Hilliard was mostly silent during the discussion of the Firehouse funding Tuesday, and while Hoyt expressed at length his reservations about the funding, both ultimately voted to approve it. Alexander abstained from voting. Read more.

Birmingham Council Approves Funds for Transit Authority, With Conditions

The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to approve funding for the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority and a handful of other organizations, including the Birmingham Business Alliance, Create Birmingham and REV Birmingham.

The funding initiatives were fulfillments of promises made by Mayor Randall Woodfin’s FY 2019 budget, which switched the BJCTA’s funding from a lump sum payment to quarterly installments, and which removed funding from various economic development organizations and instructed them instead to apply through the newly created Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity.

Though Woodfin and members of the council expressed “grave concerns” about the way the BJCTA was being run, they ultimately all agreed on the funding so that citizens reliant on the public transit system would not lose service. Even so, the amount that was approved will be meted out in quarterly installments of $2.5 million — a way, Woodfin said, to keep the BJCTA in check. Read more.

Birmingham Council Formally Opposes Cahaba Beach Road Project

The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution opposing construction of a road and bridge project across the Little Cahaba River on Cahaba Beach Road.

The resolution was approved without discussion as part of the council’s consent agenda. It was discussed and approved by the council during a committee meeting earlier this month.

The road would connect Cahaba Beach Road off U.S. 280 to Sicard Hollow Road in Shelby County and to the Liberty Park development in Vestavia Hills. It would cross the Little Cahaba River, which flows from Lake Purdy, the area’s primary source of drinking water, to the Cahaba River near where water is withdrawn for treatment.

Councilors have expressed concerns about risks to water quality, including the potential for accidents, hazardous spills into the drinking water source and pollution from the road, along with degradation of the natural forest. The Birmingham Water Works Board is expected to consider a similar resolution.

Read the BirminghamWatch story on the earlier council meeting:
Birmingham Council Members Push Back Against Road in Watershed That Protects Drinking Water

Applicants for Vacant Council Seats Include Former BoE VP, Former Mayor’s Brother

Friday marked the deadline to apply for the two vacant seats on the Birmingham City Council — and the list of applicants is lengthy.

There are 14 candidates for the District 1 seat formerly held by Lashunda Scales; 18 have applied to fill the District 6 seat formerly held by Sheila Tyson. Both Scales and Tyson resigned from the council Nov. 14 to be sworn in as members of the Jefferson County Commission.

There are plenty of familiar names among the applicants, including some, such as Sherman Collins Jr. and LaTanya Millhouse, who ran unsuccessfully against Scales and Tyson for their council seats in the past. There also are several former members of the Birmingham Board of Education hoping to repeat the success of District 7 Councilor Wardine Alexander, the former school board president who was appointed to the council earlier this month.

The list also includes a former Jefferson County commissioner, the brother of former Mayor William Bell, a former chair of the Birmingham Public Library’s board of trustees, and a former member of Mayor Randall Woodfin’s transition team. Read more and see the full list.

Birmingham Council appoints new member, while mayoral staff’s absence draws sharp criticism

After weeks of contentious discussion, it’s official: Wardine Alexander is the newest member of the Birmingham City Council, filling the District 7 seat formerly held by Jay Roberson. Her appointment, as well as the election of District 4 Councilor William Parker as president pro tempore, marks the end of a deadlock between two factions of the council.

But it also came amid an escalating feud between the council and Mayor Randall Woodfin who, along with most of  his staff, was conspicuously absent from Tuesday’s meeting — prompting some councilors to say that they were “shocked” and “outraged” by what they called a display of “petty politics.”
Read more

Birmingham Council Replacement Delayed by Trip

The search for Jay Roberson’s replacement on the Birmingham City Council will stretch on for at least another week. Interviews to fill the council’s empty District 7 seat were slated to begin Thursday, but they have been pushed back a week due to the absence of District 9 Councilor John Hilliard.

Hilliard asked that interviews be delayed because he already had been scheduled to be out of the country Sept. 27-29 for an “economic venture … on city business.”

“I want to be here for those interviews,” Hilliard said. “I thought my colleagues would be accommodating.”

Council President Valerie Abbott agreed to push the interviews back a week so that Hilliard could attend. Read more.

Ensley Shell Station May Remain Open Despite Killings, Council Decides

After nearly two months of debate, an Ensley gas station where three homicides have taken place will remain open, the Birmingham City Council decided Tuesday.

Antonio Jerrell Taylor was fatally shot at the Shell at 800 Third Ave. W. on June 10. Taylor was the third person to be killed there since 2015, leading the council to consider revoking its business license.

The List Is In: 13 Apply to Fill Roberson’s Seat on the Birmingham Council

Thirteen people have applied to fill the seat of former Birmingham City Councilor Jay Roberson, who announced his resignation last month. The lineup includes a former board of education president, a handful of candidates who previously ran for the District 7 seat, and a current member of the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority, among others. Read more.

Birmingham Council Delays Selecting New Pro Tem After Roberson’s Departure

The eight members of the Birmingham City Council spent much of Tuesday morning’s meeting focused on the daïs’ sole empty chair, stuck on the question of how to replace former President Pro Tempore Jay Roberson.

Roberson, who had represented District 7 on the council since 2009, announced his resignation last month, citing his wife’s new job with Alabaster City Schools. He officially left office Monday, meaning that Tuesday’s meeting was the first in which the remaining members of the council could vote on his replacement.

They didn’t, though. The deadline for applications to fill Roberson’s seat had been extended to Tuesday afternoon. Council President Valerie Abbott attempted unsuccessfully to hold a vote for Roberson’s replacement as president pro tem. Read more.