5 winners and losers in the City of Birmingham’s 2019 operating budget, including pot holes

Birmingham, Alabama, Your Pie, Pizza, Uptown
Your Pie Pizza Birmingham is located in Uptown, walking distance from the Westin Hotel and the BJCC. Photo via Your Pie

The City of Birmingham’s 2019 operating budget comes in at $436 million, with an increase of $8 million. Here’s what’s being funded and what’s being cut:

1. Won’t Someone Think Of The Pot Holes?

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin says that the pot holes are a job for the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT). According to ALDOT, the city received $2.2 million for citywide street paving. In addition, another $2 million is slated for the Fountain Heights neighborhood because of the interstate construction there. Birmingham, I guess we can call Domino’s. Their “Paving For Pizza” campaign sounds pretty good right about now.

Birmingham, Alabama, Domino's
You can ask Domino’s to help fix a pothole in Birmingham via a website. No, we’re not kidding. Photo via Domino’s

Here’s where you can find a copy of the 2019 budget.

2. Birmingham City Schools: No Additional Funding

While there won’t be any additional funding for the schools via the city in 2019, they are allocated $3 million for crossing guards, door alarms, handheld scanners, more metal detectors and security officers.

A group of Birmingham City Schools' Career Technical Education students, via Birmingham City Schools
A group of Birmingham City Schools’ Career Technical Education students, via Birmingham City Schools
3. Money For Neighborhoods

The budget includes $2,000 for each of Birmingham’s 99 neighborhoods, for a total of $198,000. Last year’s fiscal budget included $499,700 for neighborhood associations.

The initial 2019 budget did not include money for neighborhood associations, instead putting money into revitalization for all the communities. After hearing complaints from the city council and residents, Woodfin restored funding to the city’s 99 neighborhood associations.

Birmingham AL
Photo courtesy of Crestwood North Neighborhood Association
4. Demolition And Weeds

The mayor appropriated $3.2 million for the demolition of dilapidated structures and weed abatement.

“A lot of this budget reflects our number one priority, and that is neighborhood revitalization,” Mayor Woodfin said. “There is more money for weed abatement and demolition as far as putting money on the ground in neighborhoods.”

Birmingham, Birmingham City Council, May Woodfin, Birmingham City Council meeting
Birmingham City Council. Photo via Birmingham City Council
5. Other Highlights
  • Expanding the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex: $3 million a year for 30 years
  • Building maintenance:$495,000
  • Street lighting: $400,000
  • Interstate lighting: $500,000
  • 1 percent cost of living adjustment for all city employees: $2.8 million
  • Continuation of merit pay and longevity pay for employees: $4.3 million
  • Pension funding increase in 2019 by $2.9 million.
Birmingham, Alabama, budget, Topgolf
Employees of businesses within Birmingham city limits pay an occupational tax. Photo via Topgolf
The $8 Million Question

This year’s budget is $8 million larger than last year’s. The source?

  • Increased revenue from occupational taxes
  • Job cuts: 133 vacant jobs were removed from the budget ($4.7 million)
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