Tag: Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin

City of Birmingham Facing ‘Economic Crisis’ Over Falling Revenue From Pandemic

Birmingham can expect an $18.3 million budgetary shortfall for the 2020 fiscal year because of the pandemic, Finance Director Lester Smith told the City Council Tuesday. And he warned that the economic impact on the city’s FY 2021 budget could be nearly four times that.

Mayor Randall Woodfin, calling the situation an “economic crisis,” said that the dip in revenue means “painful” budget cuts are likely on the way.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the city’s subsequent “shelter-in-place” order led to a significant drop in business tax revenue for the city, Smith said. That revenue, which includes sales, use and occupational taxes, typically accounts for 81.3% of the city’s overall budget. 
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Woodfin Adds Exception to Demonstration Ban

Mayor Randall Woodfin has walked back his total ban on public gatherings and demonstrations in Birmingham, allowing permitted demonstrations in one park in the North Avondale neighborhood. In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Woodfin said his office would allow permitted demonstrations to take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in W.C. Patton Park, at 1200 Sipsey Street. “We want to balance the right to assembly with the absolute need for public safety,” Woodfin said in the statement. Read more.

More stories on the protests in Birmingham:

Curfews Imposed Across Birmingham Area Over Protests
Jefferson County Sets Curfew to Curb Violence
Confederate Monument Taken Down in Linn Park
Cleanup Begins After Looting Damages Downtown Birmingham Businesses
Birmingham Protestors Vandalize Downtown Buildings, Try to Take Down Confederate Monument

Curfews Imposed Across Birmingham Area Over Protests

Birmingham finished removing the base of the Confederate monument in Linn Park this morning after working for more than 24 hours to take down the structure that had become a lightning rod for racial protest in the city.

Mayor Randall Woodfin agreed to remove the monument after a crowd of protestors were drawn to the park Sunday night to try to topple it. They covered it in graffiti and chipped out chunks of it, along with taking down another statue and defacing two more. As they left the park, they set small fires and smashed windows of some downtown businesses.

In reaction, Birmingham and other cities on Tuesday declared and extended curfews aimed at shutting down such violent protests.

Woodfin announced he was expanding the city’s curfew, covering the period of 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., to include a 24-hour prohibition on “gatherings, parades, marches and demonstrations … on any public property or public street.” The Jefferson County Commission also issued a curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. through June 9, affecting unincorporated areas of the county and any cities that want to apply it. Read more.

More stories on the protests in Birmingham:
Jefferson County Sets Curfew to Curb Violence
Confederate Monument Taken Down in Linn Park
Birmingham Mayor Sets out Curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Cleanup Begins After Looting Damages Downtown Birmingham Businesses
Birmingham Protestors Vandalize Downtown Buildings, Try to Take Down Confederate Monument
Protesters Gather in Birmingham to Honor George Floyd

Alabama Starts Reopening; Birmingham Requires Face Coverings and Institutes Nighttime Curfew

Alabama is officially restarting its economy – a bit.

The state’s Stay-at-Home order expired at 5 p.m. as a new Safer-at-Home order took its place, and the Shelter-in-Place order for the city of Birmingham expires at midnight.

But Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin announced Thursday afternoon that the city had instituted a curfew that begins each evening at 10:00 and ends the following morning at 5:00. Woodfin also reminded people that the city has a new law that beginning Friday requires people out in public to wear face coverings. Medical-grade masks are not required by the ordinance; scarves, bandanas or other fabrics will suffice.

As the state eases up on its emergency order, retail stores were cleared to open at 5 p.m. Thursday, if they choose. However, they must limit the shoppers allowed in to half or less of their maximum capacity, disinfect and allow room for customers to stay 6 feet or more away from each other.

Businesses, too, may reopen if they can ensure social distancing among workers. Elective medical procedures also may resume.

The state’s beaches are open, but gatherings of 10 people or more are still prohibited, and people still must stay 6 feet away from each other.
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Birmingham Requires Face Masks in Public Starting Friday

Birmingham residents will be legally required to wear face masks in public starting May 1. The Birmingham City Council passed that legislation, sponsored by Mayor Randall Woodfin, on Tuesday; it’s the latest in a series of orders designed to slow the spread of COVID-19. Read more.

To Open for Business or Stay Closed by Coronavirus: Alabama Weighs the Options

UPDATED — As Gov. Kay Ivey eases her COVID-19 restrictions on businesses, stores, beaches and medical procedures, the question that remains for some is – is it time to reopen Alabama?

Ivey, who announced a “Safer At Home” strategy that will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday, has had advice from those who are primarily concerned about health outcomes of the coronavirus and those who consider economics – the loss of jobs, the shuttering of businesses – just as important, if not more.

Although the team has reached the decision to begin reopening – while leaving some businesses, including restaurants and athletic facilities – not all in the state agree that it’s time to reopen. Read more.

Should Gov. Ivey Loosen COVID-19 Restrictions? Not Yet, Retired UAB Public Health Professor Says

Birmingham Promise Scholarship and Internship Program Gets Corporate Backers

Mayor Randall Woodfin announced Tuesday that three corporate foundations — Alabama Power, Altec/Styslinger and Regions — have each committed $1 million to the new Birmingham Promise educational initiative.

The Birmingham Promise initiative initially was approved as part of the city’s FY 2020 budget, funded with $2 million taken from the city’s allocation to Birmingham City Schools. The program is planned to offer juniors and seniors in city schools paid internships and dual enrollment opportunities, as well as offering graduates the opportunity to attend in-state two-year or four-year public colleges tuition-free.

The $3 million in corporate contributions announced Tuesday will go “a long way” toward the tuition assistance side of the Birmingham Promise, Woodfin said. Read more.

Small Fraction of Students Qualify for Birmingham Promise University Scholarships

For urban students interested in college, tuition can be a major barrier. So when it was announced recently that the Birmingham Promise would offer a full tuition scholarship to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, many praised the partnership as a way to give eligible Birmingham graduates a much-needed financial boost. But there’s just one problem: most students aren’t eligible to apply for the scholarship. Read more.

Despite Pledges, Birmingham Barely Out of Gate on Energy Efficiency, Renewables, Sustainability

This story was written as part of a collaboration among InsideClimate News and nine media outlets in the Southeast.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin promised in December to pivot toward prioritizing sustainability during the remaining two years of his term in office, moving toward fulfilling a pledge he made during his 2017 campaign.

“We’ve got a whole lot more environmental justice and sustainability issues to address within the next two years,” he said, “but we’ve laid the groundwork and foundation to address these environmental issues in our city.”

But for some, Woodfin’s administration — and Birmingham’s municipal government as a whole — has been frustratingly inert when it comes to environmental issues.

“The bottom line is, the city doesn’t have a strategy for addressing sustainability or environmental justice or climate change or anything related to those issues,” said Michael Hansen, executive director of Gasp, a Birmingham-based nonprofit focused on environmental justice advocacy. “The mayor campaigned on all of those issues, and several of the councilors talk about them from the daïs, but they don’t ever actually do anything about them.”

Birmingham’s lack of a clear sustainability plan has placed the city at a disadvantage compared to other cities nationwide. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy’s 2019 city clean energy scorecard, for instance, ranked Birmingham as 72nd among 75 major cities in terms of sustainability efforts, saying the city “has substantial room to improve across the board” and should push toward codifying goals for clean and renewable energy “to jump-start its efforts.” Read more.

Caught Off Guard: The American Southeast Struggles With Climate Change

InsideClimate News

Reporters from Southeastern newsrooms hold leaders in their communities accountable for reducing carbon emissions and preparing for climate change-related emergencies. Read more.

Woodfin Takes Focus on Neighborhoods, Race and Crime in his State of the City Address

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin delivered his State of the City address to the Kiwanis Club Tuesday afternoon. His speech focused largely on his administration’s neighborhood revitalization efforts and its nascent Birmingham Promise education initiative, though he also touched on race relations in the 74% black city. Read more.