Birmingham City Council Delays Spending Budget Surplus on Blight, Schools
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.