Power at the Polls-Neighborhood Officers Elected
Birmingham residents turned out to the polls to elect their neighborhood association officers recently. There are 99 neighborhood associations. Each neighborhood elects a president, vice president and secretary for two year terms. In order to qualify to run, residents must be at least 18 years old. They must be a resident in the neighborhood for at least 120 days before the Candidacy of Declaration deadline. They are required to fill out a Candidacy of Declaration form, and must attend at least four neighborhood association meetings within the last year. Voters must be at least 16 years old and are required to show some kind of Identification with an address. The I.D. is cross-checked with maps and an address list of each neighborhood to confirm the voter lives within the specified neighborhood’s boundaries. Election workers say only about one percent of the population is typically represented by the 99 neighborhood associations. Officers are encouraged to recruit new members and get as many people out to monthly meetings as possible. The Birmingham Community Participation Program was created in 1974 to improve communication between residents and city leaders. Neighborhood associations are routinely consulted on matters related to zoning changes, liquor licenses, economic development, and city services. Neighborhood officers meet with residents to form Community Advisory Committees which are granted broader powers over city departments. The presidents of these committees, in turn, form the Citizens Advisory Board, which meets regularly with the mayor, council, and department heads. For more information go to www.birminghamalcitycouncil.org or WATCH THIS VIDEO.