Birmingham City Council Delays Spending Budget Surplus on Blight, Schools

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Birmingham’s City council wants to use $5 million in surplus funds to tackle blight in the city and enhance school reading programs. The proposal next goes before the committee of the whole.

If approved, the council would allocate $2 million dollars to tear down abandoned homes and $2 million dollars to cut overgrown grass. The remaining $1 million dollars would go to Birmingham City Schools’ reading programs. Birmingham recently announced the discovery of the $5 million surplus in the 2015 fiscal year budget. City officials say the extra money results from some city expenses coming in under budget, plus higher city tax earnings than expected.

The surplus must be allocated before the fiscal year ends on June 30. Birmingham Mayor William Bell supports the idea and says it’s a critical time to invest in the city. Birmingham has demolished more than 410 empty structures and cut about 4000 vacant lots, So far this year. Officials say this additional funding would accelerate these efforts, and allow the city to tear down another 150 buildings and spruce up 1500 plus overgrown properties.

List of Proposed Properties for Mowing by Birmingham by WBHM News

 

Cameras, iPads part of plan to improve garbage collection

The City Council approved a software that they say will streamline garbage routes and and improve accountability.

Alabama ‘execution survivor’ reaches settlement with state

Any future effort to execute Alan Eugene Miller will be done by nitrogen hypoxia, an execution method authorized in Alabama but that has never been used to carry out a death sentence in the U.S.

Attorneys: ‘Botched’ execution caused pain and torture

Kenneth Eugene Smith’s attorneys say he was “subjected to ever-escalating levels of pain and torture” on the night of the failed execution.

Auburn hires Liberty’s Hugh Freeze, who’s coming back to SEC

Auburn athletic director John Cohen announced on Monday the hiring of Freeze, who spent the last four seasons as coach at Liberty.

Slavery’s ghost haunts cotton gin factory’s transformation

What was once the world's largest cotton gin factory is being renovated into apartments. Some people in Prattville want the stories of the enslaved people who built and worked in the factory told along with that of its founder, Daniel Pratt.

Birmingham City Council approves violence-reduction effort for city high schools

The program involves community mentors, called “coaches,” meeting with groups of at-risk students twice a week.

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