Tag: City of Birmingham

Where Do Your Dollars Go?

Mayor Randall Woodfin stood in front of a crowd Monday night holding up a dollar bill. The city spends 75 cents of every dollar on personnel, with just a quarter going to Birmingham’s operating budget, he told the residents and officials gathered.

Birmingham officials held the town hall — during which Woodfin explained the city’s budget process and residents had a chance to voice their interests — as the city prepares to create a new budget, for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Council President Darrell O’Quinn said that, to the best of his knowledge, Monday’s event, held at Boutwell Auditorium, was the first such budget town hall city leaders have done. Read more.

Woodfin’s Strategic Update Touts Progress in Neighborhood Improvement, Food Deserts, Gun Violence, Parks, Education, Homelessness and the Arts

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin gave an update on his strategic plan during an address 12.15.23. (From Youtube stream)

When Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin gave an update on the city’s initiatives Thursday, he asked the crowd at the Birmingham Museum of Art’s auditorium to view that progress through the eyes of one mother or grandmother and the many tangible ways life has improved for her and her family since he took office. 

“Everything we’ve done has been to increase opportunities for our children and grandchildren,” he said. “That really drives what we do at City Hall. That drives this administration. That is the heartbeat of what we do for our children, for our grandchildren.” 

Back in 2017, the mayor said, that grandmother would look out her front door and see dilapidated or vacant homes next door, a cracked sidewalk and roads dotted with potholes. Six years ago, that woman’s grandchildren didn’t have a playground nearby, and the family lived miles away from a store selling fresh vegetables. And worst of all, he said, she and her grandchildren would often hear gunshots throughout the night.   

“By the end of our first term, here is what we did for that mother; here is what we did for that grandmother,” the mayor said. Read more.

Grant Could Streamline Recycling Pickup in Birmingham

Birmingham has accepted a grant to revamp the city’s recycling program so residents can opt in or opt out of recycling, making pickup more efficient.

The grant for more than $750,000 comes from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management Recycling Fund. It will pay for trucks, bins and educational and training programs.

The idea is to restructure curbside recycling collection so people can register for recycling service or opt out. The city then would determine special routes for picking up recycling from those who want the service. Read more.

In the Shadow of Brother Bryan: Homeless Living in Park Draw Ire, Sympathy

Sometimes the tears welled up in Brother Bryan’s eyes

The Rev. James Alexander Bryan, a Princeton-educated pastor, is known in Birmingham as an advocate for those facing homelessness.

“They are all dying for a little bit of love, for a kind word, for a warm handshake,” Brother Bryan was quoted in the book “Religion in Shoes” as saying of those he served. “Beneath that torn coat or ragged shawl, the life may be torn, but there is a soul for whom Jesus died.”

This week, Terrance Smith sat in a Birmingham park named after Brother Bryan. Smith is among hundreds facing unsheltered homelessness in and around Birmingham, many of whom frequent the city’s parks, including Brother Bryan in the Five Points neighborhood.

Earlier this month, Birmingham city councilors discussed individuals facing homelessness in Brother Bryan Park after a member of the public asked that city officials do more to address what he described as a “real problem.”

“It’s just horrifying what goes on over there,” Councilor Valerie Abbott said at the body’s meeting on Aug. 8. “There are people living in the park, and no other people will go in there.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Smith reacted to the council’s comments, saying he felt some of the discussion was offensive. Councilors, Smith said, should “get to know their neighbors.”

“I think they’re wrong,” Smith said, an etching of Brother Bryan on a stone facade just a stone’s throw away. “They just push us aside like we’re not people, but they forget. God created me. God created them. So what’s the difference?” Read more.

Birmingham to Give $850K to 8 Nonprofits

Eight Birmingham nonprofits will receive $850,000 in funding from the city’s Building Opportunities for Lasting Development grant program.

Before Mayor Randall Woodfin instituted the BOLD initiative in 2018, Birmingham’s contributions to nonprofits were included as line items in the city’s operating budget. Now, the city’s Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity distributes $1 million in nonprofit funding via an application process.

All eight organizations receiving funding are minority- or woman-led, and five are first-time recipients. Read more.

Birmingham Kicks Off New Garbage Pickup Plan

Birmingham has begun to deliver garbage carts to city residents in the first phase of its plans to change garbage pickup in the city.

The Department of Public Works will deliver about 20,000, free, 96-gallon garbage carts among the city’s four waste management districts over the next four weeks. Plans are to deliver about 100,000 uniform garbage carts through next year. Read more.