Councilors gain valuable insight on local Opportunity Zone legislation at the annual National Community Reinvestment Coalition Conference
PRESS RELEASE Thursday March 14, 2019
Contact: Cody Owens
BIRMINGHAM, AL – This week members of the Birmingham City Council attended the National Community Reinvestment Coalition’s annual conference in Washington D.C.
During the conference, the elected delegation from Birmingham took part in seminars and panel discussions on vital topics for the city, such as how to best utilize Opportunity Zone designations, best land bank practices and meetings with Alabama’s Congressional leaders.
Perhaps one the most important topics, as it relates to Birmingham’s neighborhoods, was how best utilize the city’s newly designated Opportunity Zones. On March 21, 2018, Governor Kay Ivey released a list of 158 Opportunity Zones in Alabama that her administration submitted to the U.S. Department of Treasury — 24 of which are located in Birmingham.
These zones are designed to draw long-term capital investments into poverty-stricken communities. The program provides a federal tax incentive for investors to re-invest their unrealized capital gains into Opportunity Funds, which can be dedicated for investing in designated Opportunity Zones through local legislation.
During the NCRC Conference, City Councilors learned the importance of implementing local legislation in order to make sure those capital gains stay in Birmingham’s communities.
“Birmingham is blessed to have a large portion of the city that is covered by the new Opportunity Zone legislation,” Councilor Darrell O’Quinn said. “Because of that, we are very likely to see a lot of new investment in historically underinvested communities. As a Council, we have a strong role to play in driving these investments. One of the things we learned from the sessions was that we need to be actively engaged in providing that guidance to investors. In the coming months I anticipate that we will have a lot of communication with the mayor about our vision for the city and how we should best take advantage of these Opportunity Zones.”
District 9 Councilor John Hilliard also attended meetings about Opportunity Zones, three of which are located in his district.
“A focus of ours when working with Opportunity Zone investors has to be making sure it’s done in a responsible way that will pay dividends to the community. We want to make sure these investments add to the culture and history of the communities,” Hilliard said. “The focus has to be about revitalization and not just about profit. That is what I will be working on with my colleagues moving forward.”
For more information contact Cody Owens, Public Information Officer for the Birmingham City Council at 205.317.1121.