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What a difference a year makes. Back in October 2020, the city of Birmingham made numerous mid-year cuts to the 2021 budget because of the economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the city’s finances have rebounded enabling the Birmingham City Council to approve on Tuesday night Mayor Randall L. Woodfin’s $455 million operating budget – the largest in the city’s 150-year history.
Recovery and Restoration
“This is a moment of recovery and restoration for our city,” Mayor Woodfin said in a statement. “I want to thank the council for working alongside me to ensure our shared priorities of neighborhood revitalization and fiscal responsibility are supported in this budget.”
The council approved the 2021-2022 budget 8 to 0.
The new budget provides a 1.5% pay raise for city employees and funds merit and longevity pay, paid city holidays and fully funds the employee pension program with a city contribution of more than $32 million.
Most of the nonprofit organizations and agencies that saw their funding reduced in the middle of last year had their funding restored. During the council meeting there was a discussion about increasing funds to two organizations, the Friends of Rickwood Field and the Birmingham Zoo. Councilor Valerie Abbott asked for assurances (the Zoo and the Mayor’s Office are currently negotiating an agreement) from the Administration that the Zoo receive additional funding. Council President William Parker and Councilor Hunter Williams also committed to working on increased funding for the Zoo.
Some of the nonprofits and agencies that had their funding restored include:
- Ruffner Mountain
- Railroad Park
- Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
- Jones Valley Teaching Farms
- Create Birmingham Film Initiative
- Vulcan Park Foundation
- Alabama Ballet
- Clas Tran
- Red Mountain Park
In addition to funding the nonprofits and agencies, the 2022 budget supports several neighborhood revitalization efforts. They include:
- $10 million for street resurfacing
- $3.15 million for demolition and weed abatement
- $300,000 for the Land Bank Authority
- $300,000 for recycling pilot program
- $890,000 for social services
- $275,000 for ADA sidewalks
The Mayor’s signature program – Birmingham Promise – an initiative that provides funds for tuition and work experience for Birmingham City Schools students entering Alabama’s public two-year and four-year colleges and universities received a $2 million appropriation.
Line by Line
Want to see line by line the 2022 budget? Visit www.birminghamal.gov/budget2022