Category Archives: City Council

Council gets tougher on finances

Birmingham City Council President Carole Smitherman has probably already made her proposal to the council’s budget, finance and administration committee today. The News reports that the proposal would include requiring Mayor Langford to present monthly reports to the council in addition to making the city’s 3-month reserve fund a requirement (which would make it difficult to touch for regular expenses). This comes after an interesting few days, including a Saturday meeting that turned heated and an interesting discussion of no-bid contracts.

Of course, you could just listen to (and watch) Smitherman explain it herself.

On the agenda: Council approves 2009 budget

Looks like we will have an operating budget before 3 p.m. CDT (after a lengthy discussion that streamed online during their recess). The regular scheduled meeting of the Birmingham City Council ended at approximately 3 p.m. today with the approval of the 2009 general fund budget. The capital budget is the next item to be approved – it will be dealt with at next week’s meeting.

It appears that The final vote will be was 7-0 for most items with one abstention. Councilor Montgomery was absent due to surgery and Councilor Royal is abstaining from most of the earlier items involving the budget on the agenda – though he did vote with the majority for the items pertaining to employee raises.

The council also delayed voting on a proposal that would have started the process of being considered for the 2020 Olympics, as The Birmingham News reported earlier today.

There may be a city budget tomorrow (maybe)

It’s somewhat fitting that on Bastille Day, it looks like we’re about to see some fireworks coming from City Hall here in Birmingham, AL. That’s because late last night the Birmingham City Council announced that they would meet with representatives from Mayor Langford’s office to go over their latest budget proposal later today.

They also announced that they would be removing most of the mayor’s initiatives from the draft budget and  unanimously not accepting $1 million per councilor in discretionary funding promised to them by Langford during last year’s mayoral campaign. These moves could be because of reports that the tax increases enacted early during Langford’s term have not collected as much as first hoped.

On the agenda: Money, development, money (and anger)

So the big news for this morning’s City Council meeting is not necessarily one that is on the agenda, but an item that will be brought up during Mayor Langford’s comments, at least according to this morning’s Birmingham News. They reported that the mayor, upset with City Councilor Valerie Abbott over the situation represented in this video (use of a city car), will be pulling his compromise plan for the former Knights of Columbus property in Glen Iris, frustrating a community that one could say was already quite frustrated. This will allow Formation Methods the opportunity to develop apartments on the property. Check out the links and see what you think.

Now on to the agenda

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Langford’s Fair Park plan awaits Council approval Tuesday

Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford this morning laid out his plans to City Council members to completely revitalize Fair Park, a $125 – $150 million project that would be funded using portions of the recent sales and business tax increases, and could be completed in three years.All Langford needs now is the Council’s approval of the plan. It will be on the their agenda Tuesday.

“If ever there was a place that needs a shot in the arm, it’s Five Points West,” he said.

Langford said the project could be built debt-free using millions that the taxes are generating, plus unused money in the city’s budgets from stalled or inactive school and other capital projects. The city’s $55 million would jumpstart the economic development process.

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UPDATE: Good viewing for city council’s possible online debut

UPDATE #2: This week’s meeting is now streaming live on the city’s website – and as of 12:39 p.m. they were currently hearing public comments about the Glen Iris item.

UPDATE #1: A quick check of the city’s website now lets us know that meetings will begin streaming next week Tuesday, March 11. Today’s meeting appears as though it will be available in the archives later today though.

As we first shared with you in December, the City of Birmingham’s new website would allow them to do some new things – including giving residents the opportunity to watch live streams of city council meetings from the comfort of their computer monitors. The Birmingham Business Journal reported yesterday that today would be the first time that this feature will be used. A current check of the site though shows only last week’s meeting available in the archives. It will definitely be a good day to watch online if it is in fact available (though it is not currently available as of the posting of this item).

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Three Parks: One step closer for Railroad Reservation

 Sysco Warehouse

A view of the SYSCO warehouse building looking towards Birmingham’s city center. Photo credit: Bob Farley/f8photo

Among the many items approved during yesterday’s Birmingham city council meeting was the purchase of the  SYSCO Food Services warehouse on 1st Avenue South, pictured above, by the city. The property will be purchased for $1,550,000 to make way for the Railroad Reservation Park. Representatives hope that groundbreaking will go on as planned this fall.