Tag: Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin

Woodfin’s Constantly Changing Budget Leaves Library Board, City Council to Wonder: “What the Heck Is Going On?”

The future remains uncertain for the Birmingham Public Library and its 230 employees, thanks to city budget cuts necessitated by COVID-19.

And there have been no clear answers from Mayor Randall Woodfin regarding just how much money the library system will receive from the city, which will determine how many branches will have to close and how many employees have to be furloughed.

Or rather, as members of the BPL Board of Trustees remarked during a library board meeting Tuesday afternoon, there have been several clear answers from Woodfin, all of them dramatically different.
Read more.

Birmingham Contemplates Privatizing or Automating Garbage Pick Up

Mayor Randall Woodfin urged councilors to consider either automating or outsourcing Birmingham’s garbage pickup program during a special-called meeting of the City Council Thursday night, arguing that it is unsustainable in its current form.

In a joint presentation with the city’s public works, legal and finance departments, Woodfin called for the city to either “engage an experienced refuse management service” or to “automate the city’s refuse collection fleet by purchasing 20 side loaders and adding tipper (trucks) to (the) existing fleet.”

Both options would provide significant cost savings to the city amid an economic crisis brought on by COVID-19, he said, though he added that the need for change predated the pandemic. Read more.

Board of Education President Criticizes Woodfin’s Plan to Cut Funding for Birmingham Schools

Though she insisted that she was “absolutely not here in my professional capacity,” Birmingham School Board President Daagye Hendricks addressed the Birmingham City Council on Tuesday, calling Mayor Randall Woodfin’s proposed FY 2021 budget “egregious” for cutting funding to city schools.

This year’s city budget is nearly $50 million smaller than last year’s budget, thanks to a sharp decline in the city’s business tax revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the $412 million budget’s many proposed austerity measures — which include funding cuts for external organizations and furloughs for hundreds of city employees — is a reduction of $1 million in city funding to Birmingham City Schools.
Read more.

Furloughs on Hold, but Maybe Not for Long

Earlier this month, employees of several city-owned entities — including the Birmingham Public Library and the Birmingham Parks and Recreation Board, among others — received letters from Mayor Randall Woodfin’s office informing them that they would be furloughed.

Now, they’re being told to ignore that furlough letter — but another one might be coming.

“The letter is now moot,” said Cedric Sparks, Woodfin’s chief of staff, during a teleconference with Birmingham employees on Friday, responding to a question specifically focused on library employees. “The letter that you have received, please disregard that letter. Your next letter will come directly from the library board.”

However, the mayor’s office also announced that it had raised funding for libraries and parks in a revised budget proposal. Read more.

Budget Blows to Birmingham Schools and Transit Being Cushioned, Other Groups are Not as Lucky

Mayor Randall Woodfin defended some controversial cuts in his proposed FY 2021 budget Tuesday, arguing that, despite a significant drop in city funding, both Birmingham City Schools and the Birmingham-Jefferson Transit Authority would continue to operate as usual. Much of the money they lost will be made up by funds from elsewhere.

Many other groups, including the library system, zoo and Railroad Park, are facing much bigger consequences. Read more.

Woodfin’s Budget Features Pay Cuts, Furloughs and Funding Reductions

As promised, Mayor Randall Woodfin’s proposed FY 2021 budget is austere, thanks to financial pressures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The budget, which had been delayed by three months so that the city could calculate the extent of the economic damage caused by the coronavirus, includes salary reductions for the mayor and his appointees, furloughs for hundreds of city employees and reductions in funding to several entities.

But it continues funding for many of Woodfin’s signature issues, including neighborhood revitalization and the city’s long-underfunded pension.
Read more.

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. 
Read more.

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.
Read more.