Press Releases

Birmingham’s Largest Asset Remains at Risk after City Council is Precluded from Voting to Hire Law Firm

PRESS RELEASE                                                                               Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Contact: Brittany Sharp

Phone: 205-721-5369

brittany.sharp@birminghamal.gov

BIRMINGHAM, AL – The Birmingham Water Works is the city’s largest asset and Birmingham City Councilors are doing all that they can to ensure that it stays that way. The Council and The City who were named as defendants originally in the Birmingham Water Works lawsuit, will seek to realign with the BWWB on the plaintiff’s side, due to their converging believes that the City should retain its assets. A vote to hire lawyers to represent the Council and the City was to take place during today’s Council meeting. However, that vote could not take place after several councilors left the meeting eliminating the necessary quorum to hold the vote.

“It is imperative that we do all that we can to fight for the citizens of Birmingham to ensure that they do not lose control over the largest asset in our city. This case is about those who wish that The City of Birmingham keep the asset that its citizens paid for over the last fifty years and those who wish that the control of Birmingham’s largest asset is controlled by others outside our city,” Council President Johnathan F. Austin said. “It is unfortunate that today’s proposed vote could not take place, but we will continue pushing forward to see that a vote on an item with such long term effects for our residents will indeed take place.”

The Alabama legislation passed two bills, which change the structure of the Birmingham Water Works Board and the method of appointing those board members. If the law remains unchallenged, on January 1, 2017 the BWWB will expand from five to nine board members. The new nine-member board would be composed of six Birmingham residents, one member from outside Birmingham appointed by the Jefferson County Mayor’s Association, and one each appointed by the Blount and Shelby County Commissions. In a 2016 amendment sponsored by Rep. Oliver Robinson, the appointments for the six Birmingham residents would be split, with two being appointed by Birmingham’s Mayor and four by the Council.

For media inquiries please contact the Birmingham City Council Public Information Director Brittany Sharp at 205.721.5369 or brittany.sharp@birminghamal.gov.