Tag: Mayor Randall Woodfin

Birmingham Passes “Phantom” Budget, Unchanged From Woodfin’s Proposal

The discussion appeared to be over before Tuesday’s Birmingham City Council meeting had even begun. Council members had disinterestedly trickled out of the afternoon’s budget workshop until only a voting minority of the nine-member council remained: Councilors Valerie Abbott, Steven Hoyt, Clinton Woods and Crystal Smitherman.

The remainder of the council, led by President William Parker, voted down Smitherman’s proposed amendments to the budget. They opted instead to approve it as proposed by Mayor Randall Woodfin, with Abbott joining them in that vote.

The budget has been controversial since Woodfin announced it last month. With the city facing a $63 million shortfall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Woodfin made several significant cuts to its operating budget. He defended some of his cuts, such as those to the Birmingham school board and the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority, arguing that those organizations would make up the loss via other funding sources. Other departments, including the library and parks and recreation, were given budget cuts that led to hundreds of full- and part-time city employees being furloughed.

Unchanged, Woodfin told residents, was his administration’s commitment to neighborhood revitalization, which had been one of the central promises of his campaign. His proposed budget continued to allocate $10 million for street paving, $1.5 million for dilapidated structure demolition and $1.25 million for weed abatement. His new Birmingham Promise Educational Initiative also continued to receive its $2 million. Read more.

One Year and Counting: Birmingham Mayor Woodfin Focuses on Revitalizing Neighborhoods

This is the third in a series of three articles looking at the first year of Randall Woodfin’s tenure as mayor.

In its first year, Randall Woodfin’s administration has restructured the mayor’s office and moved to address the city’s violent crime rate. But the crux of Woodfin’s political career thus far has been the issue of neighborhood revitalization.

On the campaign trail, he repeated the mantra that Birmingham “is only as strong as our lowest quality-of-life neighborhoods,” accusing then-Mayor William Bell of focusing on downtown development while neglecting other areas.

Woodfin’s revitalization plan has largely focused on maintaining and improving basic city services in neighborhoods, such as paving streets and sidewalks, demolishing dilapidated structures, cutting overgrown lots and picking up trash — what he calls the “blocking and tackling” of government.

While the practicalities of bureaucracy have slowed some of Woodfin’s neighborhood revitalization projects, including his 100 Homes, 100 Days program, he maintains that his administration’s approach has been “aggressive,” and promises that it will get more so.

“Day one of year two, the priority and sense of urgency is still around neighborhood revitalization,” Woodfin told reporters a week before the anniversary of his inauguration as mayor. “We are going to get the fundamentals of government right.” Read more.

Read the first two articles in the series.

One Year and Counting: A Year After His Inauguration, Mayor Woodfin Promises a Comprehensive Crime Plan by the End of the Year

One Year and Counting: Birmingham Mayor Woodfin Cuts Administrative Positions, Focuses on Inclusion and Takes Steps to Protect Pensions

Listen to WBHM’s report on Woodfin’s anniversary.

One Year and Counting: Birmingham Mayor Woodfin Cuts Administrative Positions, Focuses on Inclusion and Takes Steps to Protect Pensions

The grey concrete exterior of City Hall might look the same as it did a year ago, but inside, real changes have been made.

Since he took office last November, Mayor Randall Woodfin has made significant changes to his office — including reducing perceived inefficiencies, emphasizing inclusion, and working to undo a budgeting shortfall that could affect city employees for decades to come. Read more.

This is the second in a series of three articles looking at the first year of Randall Woodfin’s tenure as mayor.

One Year and Counting: A Year After His Inauguration, Mayor Woodfin Promises a Comprehensive Crime Plan by the End of the Year

Listen to WBHM’s report on Woodfin’s anniversary.