Fifteen area organizations stood before the Birmingham City Council’s economic development committee during a public hearing Thursday evening, May 30, to ask for restored or additional funding in the 2013-2014 fiscal year budget. The budget message was presented to the council by Mayor Bell on May 14. The council received a detailed briefing on the proposed operating and capital budgets on May 21.
The accompanying images shows Robbie Fearn, executive director of Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve, as he presented before the committee while supporters hold signs behind him. As reported recently in Weld for Birmingham, the 36 year-old cultural resource has not been included in the proposed budget for the second year in a row. The Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham Public Library, Citizen Action Patrol (CAP), Children’s Village, Childcare Resources, Clastran, Crossroads to Intervention, the Exchange Club of Birmingham Family Skills Center, Friends of Rickwood Field, Meals on Wheels, the Metro Birmingham Chapter of the NAACP, Norwood Resource Center, and the YWCA also received three minutes to speak before the committee, chaired by council president pro tempore Steven Hoyt. They then answered questions posed to them by the council.
The hearing started at 4 p.m. and lasted a little over an hour. Those unable to attend but interested in what was said and the questions posed to the organizations are able to relive the excitement via an audio archive posted to the city’s website last night. At the very least, you’ll learn more about the organizations listed above while also getting a chance to hear the types of questions being asked by the councilors.
It may also help if you had some time to look over the budget (PDF). It’s a pretty large document (1.48 MB, 164 pages), but at least you’ll know where everyone’s starting from as the budget process continues.