Press Releases

Birmingham City Council Pledges the $5 Million Savings Will be Returned Back to the Neighborhoods

PRESS RELEASE                                                                             Saturday, June 4, 2016

Contact: Brittany Sharp

Phone: 205-721-5369

brittany.sharp@birminghamal.gov

BIRMINGHAM, AL – In wake of recent news, that the City of Birmingham has $5 million due to cost savings, the Birmingham City Council is ready to return those funds back to the areas that needs them the most. This pledge to return $5 million back to neighborhoods and schools is a direct reflection of the councils ongoing support to improve neighborhoods, reduce crime, and enhance the Birmingham City School system. Through a new “We Got 5 On It” commitment the Council pledges to address the most important issues within Birmingham by building on the work that has already begun. Through this 5 point system the Council will:

  1. Increase the amount of funding that was allotted to cleanup our neighborhoods in all 9 districts. At the beginning of this fiscal year the Council reorganized the budget to ensure that neighborhoods were not left out by allocating $6.5 million back into the neighborhoods, so this latest commitment will continue efforts that the Council has been dedicated to.
  2. Propose that a portion of the $5 million savings be used to address the growing safety concerns that so many residents have expressed. The Birmingham City Council has been adamant about looking at additional support and have pushed for continuous meetings with Police Chief A.C. Roper about what’s needed to address the growing issue. This money will help to fund those proposed initiatives.
  3. Increase funding for the Birmingham City School system to ensure that the best resources are available to our students. Just recently the Birmingham City Council organized a joint meeting between Mayor Bell, Superintendent Dr. G and the School Board to gain more insight on what can collectively be done to improve our schools. Through the information that was shared at that meeting the Council now has a clear look at what’s needed to change the outlook for the future of our Birmingham City Schools. The Council is ready to use the extra savings to put that money directly towards funding new programs and initiatives to enhance our schools.
  4. The Council knows that improving our neighborhoods, reducing crime, and enhancing education can’t be done alone, it takes collective measures. The Council is proposing that funds be put in place to support the leadership that exists within our communities. The Council has been committed to supporting our neighborhood officers within the 99 neighborhoods, and additional resources could be provided to the neighborhoods within this 5-point system.
  5. The Council knows that as our neighborhoods are brought back to life through revitalization, a reduction in crime, and an increase in progressive schools, our economic development opportunities as a city will grow. This Council is also proposing that a portion of the additional $5 million be used to support economic development growth within communities that are often times overlooked. The time is now to look at areas of growth within Ensley, East Lake, and Pratt City.

Echoing sentiments that the time is now, Economic Development, Budget and Finance Committee Chair, Councilor Marcus Lundy said he’s excited that those elected to lead and serve are finally on the same page with what matters most.

“I am excited that we are all on same sheet of music. The Council, as representatives of the people, have fought for the neighborhoods since 2013,” Councilor Lundy said. “When it comes to our schools, public safety, home demolition, weed abatement, and economic revitalization within our neighborhoods it’s important that we are all on the same page to see positive results for each of those areas.”

Council President Johnathan F. Austin echoed his colleague’s thoughts noting that he’s always on board when it comes to doing what’s in the best interest of residents.

“What a great way to end this fiscal year, by doing exactly what we as a Council did at the beginning of the year, and that is pledging to do all that we could to support our neighborhoods with both our time and our resources,” President Austin said. “This Council has been adamant about improving Birmingham now, and not waiting until others feel the time is right. Our pledge to be a sound city who does what’s in the best interest of it’s citizens is reflected through our actions, and I’m looking forward to seeing this $5 million put to good use in our communities.”

President Austin says he will support an addendum request from the Mayor for the council agenda this Tuesday that would contemplate the expenditure of an additional $5 million for the neighborhoods, schools, and police department.

For more information, please contact Birmingham City Council Director of Public Information Brittany Sharp at (205) 721-5369 or brittany.sharp@birminghamal.gov.