Birmingham’s 99 neighborhood associations will be holding officer elections on March 30th.
The Birmingham City Council agreed on this date at their February 23rd meeting after the city-wide election was postponed this past October because of COVID-19 concerns.
If you are interested in running for a Birmingham neighborhood officer position call 205-297-8192. The deadline to declare your candidacy is March 2nd.
So, how does Birmingham’s vast network of neighborhood associations and communities work? A little history.
In 1974, the city of Birmingham adopted what is called the Citizens Participation Plan as part of the community development block grants program.
The Plan is the city’s official community engagement system which guides our 99 neighborhoods and 23 communities. Most folks aren’t quite sure where their neighborhood begins or ends. Here is a handy master neighborhood/communities list via BhamWiki and the Community Resource Services webpage.
Why It Matters
District 5 City Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, who previously served as President of the Crestwood North Neighborhood, provided Bham Now a tutorial about the importance of our neighborhood associations and the community leadership it fosters..
“No matter where you live in Birmingham, you live in a distinct neighborhood with defined political boundaries and you have elected leadership for that neighborhood association. It’s not a homeowner’s association. It’s an extension of municipal government, where we have elected representatives for each of those 99 neighborhoods – a president, vice president and secretary. Historically, each of those neighborhoods typically conduct a monthly meeting where residents of the community residents and other stakeholders gathered to interface with city government. Oftentimes, representatives from Public Works, Birmingham’s Police Department, Birmingham Fire and Rescue, City Council, Birmingham Board of Education attend these meetings. It was a system that was set up to encourage and facilitate grassroots community organizing.”
From his perspective as a city councilor, O’Quinn sees Birmingham’s neighborhood associations and neighborhood officers as an extension of the Council’s “eyes and ears.” He ticked off a quick list for us:
- Neighborhood Associations keep track of what’s going on in real time at the neighborhood level.
- They help organize neighborhood cleanups.
- They help us connect to residents that may be in need of assistance in addressing an issue.
- They bring zoning issues to our attention.
And that is just a sample.
Neighborhood Elections Are Coming
To become a neighborhood officer you do have to meet some requirements such as attending a number of monthly neighborhood meetings. Since many neighborhood associations have been unable to meet this may be an issue in 2021. The matter was raised by Councilor Valerie Abbott, herself a former neighborhood President (Glen Iris) and was discussed briefly during the meeting.
If you are interested in running for an officer position in your neighborhood association you need to fill-out and turn in by March 2, 2021 a Declaration of Candidacy Qualification Form (the 2020 form will be accepted).If you have any questions about the process, please call 205-297-8192.