Birmingham mayor proposes largest city budget ever


Sam Prickett, BirminghamWatch

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin introduced a $517 million budget proposal, the largest in city history, during Tuesday’s city council meeting. The proposed budget for the next fiscal year is an increase of $75.6 million from the current year. Revenue increased by more than 20% in the last year.  

“The City of Birmingham is experiencing an unprecedented time of investment and growth. Our business taxes are up in many categories, and it’s enabling us to expand our investments and our shared priorities,” Woodfin said. 

Birmingham neighborhoods could see about $27 million with those funds dedicated to street resurfacing and repavement, demolition and weed abatement, trash receptacles and the Land Bank Authority. 

The Division of Youth Services, which had been under the mayor’s office, would become a separate city department. It would receive over $7 million and focus on mental health services, conflict resolution, early childhood development, financial literacy, recreational center hubs, summer jobs programs, and continuing to invest in the Birmingham Promise scholarship and apprenticeship program.

City employees could see a 5% pay increase on top of the 5% raise approved earlier this year. Officials say the budget will allow the city’s pension to be fully funded. Those pay and benefit costs total $48.6 million. 

The Birmingham Police Department would receive a $6 million increase that would include overtime pay, uniforms, and recruitment of new officers to replace those who have left. 

More than $12 million would go to transportation, split among the BJCTA, Xpress Bus Rapid Transit, and Via, an on-demand ride service. 

Birmingham libraries would receive a $1.5 million dollar increase with half of that going to materials and renovations. 

“Nothing was taken away from anybody,” Woodfin said. “We focused on our youth. We focused on our infrastructure. And our libraries are cool.” 

Woodfin expressed confidence the council will approve this budget. 

“We had to make a very hard decision in 2020 and in 2021 to cut people and to sacrifice. So I’m very excited to see what this budget will look like,” Council President Pro Tem Crystal Smitherman said. 

There will be two public hearings for the proposed budget on June 6 and June 16. The fiscal year starts July 1.


Birmingham’s poet laureate writes her homecoming

Birmingham’s inaugural poet laureate, Salaam Green, finds her home in the sensory details, the most important being poetry. But finding that home was a process.

Birmingham-Southern baseball team vies for an NCAA title as the school prepares to close

When Coach Jan Weisberg called the Birmingham-Southern College baseball team to an impromptu meeting on March 27, players were confused. They gathered together in the locker room and found out the news – BSC would close on May 31.

EPA formally denies Alabama’s plan for coal ash waste

The federal agency says the state’s plan was not as protective as federal standards, allowing toxic waste to remain in unlined pits that may contaminate groundwater. Alabama officials say they will appeal.

Here’s what you said were the hidden gems in Walker County

There are things we notice about where we live that others might miss. That might be a hidden gem or other surprise. We set out to discover a few of them in Walker County at our recent News and Brews community pop-up.

After years of increases, Jefferson County sees a decline in overdose fatalities

Following years of record-breaking increases, Jefferson County is finally seeing a decline in overdose fatalities. We talk to local officials to better understand the reasons for the drop, and if it’s a sign of a longer-term trend.

Alabama district attorney says ‘justice demands’ new trial for death row inmate

Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr filed a brief expressing his support for Toforest Johnson’s bid to receive a new trial. Carr has supported a new trial since 2020, but the latest filing detailed the findings of a post-conviction review of the case.

More Front Page Coverage