The Birmingham City Council reelected Council President Johnathan Austin by one vote, 5-4, on May 10. The council was required to hold new elections because of a bill passed by the Alabama Legislature this session. It approved controversial changes to the law defining Birmingham’s balance of power, the Mayor-Council Act.
Elections for council president and president pro-tem will now be held every two years, rather than four. The council selected Steven Hoyt as the new president pro-tem, over incumbent Jay Roberson.
Under this new bill, the council also needs approval from the mayor in writing to change the general budget.
After months of disagreement between Mayor William Bell and the Council, Austin says he’s looking forward. One of his missions is to “[c]ontinue to focus on the neighborhoods, focus on our communities, work to rebuild our neighborhoods.”
“They’ve been languishing for so long and it has been neglected for so long,” he continued.
“I hope that the mayor is certainly willing to work with the council. In the past he’s not been, but I believe that we always have an opportunity to hit the reset button.”