Tag: Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin has announced legislation he believes would address the lack of healthy food options faced by a majority of the city’s residents.
A healthy food ordinance will be officially released in coming weeks, Woodfin told the City Council on Tuesday, and will include measures to “limit the development of new dollar stores in our city… as well as open more opportunities for fresh food producers (and) lowering the overall costs for grocers.” Read more.
The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to delay $5.5 million in funding measures that Mayor Randall Woodfin said would address “critical needs” in a handful of city departments. The proposals will instead go before the council’s Committee of the Whole when it meets Wednesday.
That $5.5 million would come from projected increases in use tax and occupational tax revenue, said Director of Finance Chaz Mitchell, who assured councilors that those projections were “very conservative.”
But several councilors, including District 2 Councilor Hunter Williams and District 8 Councilor Steven Hoyt, said that the council had not been adequately informed of the proposed expenditures. Read more.
Following a tragic week for Birmingham, Mayor Randall Woodfin delivered his second State of the Community address Monday night. His speech was equal parts elegiac and hopeful, addressing the death of former Mayor Larry Langford and the murder of Birmingham Police Sgt. Wytasha Carter while casting an optimistic eye toward the future.
“This evening, I come before you in a state of mourning,” he said during his speech. “We’re a city with a broken heart.”
But resilience, Woodfin argued, “is in our DNA,” and after a lengthy prayer from local pastor Terry Drake, he shifted his focus to the accomplishments of his administration’s first year at City Hall. The city, he said is, “writing another chapter in our grand legacy.” Read more.
In a recent meeting during which two new Birmingham City Council members were appointed, councilors gave clear signals that they’re ready to take on a rewrite of the law that governs separation of powers in Birmingham’s municipal government.
Interviews with finalists for the two empty seats were peppered with questions about the Mayor-Council Act of 1955. Specifically, councilors focused on controversial changes that were made to the law in 2016, which took certain powers from the council and gave them to the mayor’s office. Undoing those changes would be a priority in 2019, councilors told applicants.
That process won’t be easy. Councilors will need to lobby state legislators to walk back changes they made recently. Perhaps more critically, the efforts could put the council at odds with Mayor Randall Woodfin, who would stand to lose significant budgeting power if the 2016 changes were undone. Read more.
This is the first in a series of three articles looking at the first year of Randall Woodfin’s tenure as mayor.
When Randall Woodfin was inaugurated as mayor of Birmingham on Nov. 28, 2017, he took time during his speech to address the city’s high rate of gun violence — an “epidemic,” he said, that had been steadily rising since 2015.
“My heart is with every family who has lost a loved one to murder in our city,” he told the crowd assembled in front of City Hall. “My prayers, my energy, my sympathy and my empathy — we have to do something. … We have to better police our city, and in better policing our city, it is going to take this entire community to feel empowered where you live, to make sure we are protecting our neighbors. We have had enough of violence in our city, and I stand before you today to let you know, I can show you better than I can tell you, it will be different.”
The numbers for Woodfin’s first year in office don’t look much different from 2017. At the time of his inauguration, the city had logged 104 homicides for the year; that number would later rise to 117 by year’s end. As of Nov. 28, 2018, there have been 102 homicides in Birmingham for the year.
But if the statistics are the same, the city’s approach to lowering them has been gradually changing under Woodfin’s watch, though we won’t know the full specifics of his administration’s strategy, he said, until later this year. Read more.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin addressed city employees Wednesday, acknowledging “serious challenges” facing the city’s pension system and urging the pension board to begin working with him on solutions immediately.
“For years, this issue has not been handled,” Woodfin said in a letter released alongside a video address. “If we act now, there is time to correct this problem, protect our employees and avoid a financial crisis for the city.”
According to Woodfin, the city’s unfunded pension liability stands at $378 million, which means that the city will need to contribute $378 million more than it already does to the pension fund over the next 30 years. Read more.
Mayor Randall Woodfin called for greater civility between his office and Birmingham City Council on Tuesday, following weeks of escalating tension. The tension culminated with Woodfin and most of his staff being absent from the council’s Oct. 30 meeting.
While calling for civility, Woodfin also announced plans to reduce his staff’s presence at council meetings. He said this is an effort to improve efficiency and to spend more time on community outreach.
Last week’s absence of Woodfin and his staff drew considerable criticism from councilors, some of whom called it “a slap in the face to the constituents of the 99 neighborhoods.” Read more.
Exactly one year after his election, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin has released a strategic plan providing an update on his administration’s progress and setting new goals for the remainder of his first term. The plan, which was released publicly Wednesday afternoon, features “a detailed set of enterprise initiatives and major projects for the City of Birmingham,” Woodfin wrote in the plan’s introduction.
The plan shares its name, The Woodfin Way, with the report from Woodfin’s transition committee, released in March.
The new plan is a result, Woodfin said, of findings from that report, as well as a labor report from private data company Burning Glass Technologies, a comprehensive framework plan, and a performance assessment from private consulting firm Crowe Horwath. Read more.
Birmingham residents can now see detailed financial reports for the city at its new Open Checkbook portal. The website is part of the effort to increase transparency and accountability in city government, according to a press release from the city. Read more.
Two big economic development projects in Birmingham may pay off for city neighborhoods. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin announced a program Wednesday to spend $1 million on home renovations in blighted neighborhoods.
The program will improve 100 homes in 100 days. Woodfin said the money comes from the sale of two city properties: a downtown parking deck after the grocery delivery company Shipt expanded, and the site of a new data center planned near Sixth Avenue South in North Titusville. Read more.