Birmingham approves the largest budget in 150-year history

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Birmingham City Hall at Sunset 2021
Birmingham City Hall in 2021. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

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

Mayor Randall Woodfin speaking at COVID – 19 news conference on March 13, 2020, announcing the creation of the Bham Strong Fund. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

“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 Highlights 

In honor of Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney, Birmingham City Hall is lit up in purple. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

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.

Birmingham Zoo
Birmingham Zoo. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

Some of the nonprofits and agencies that had their funding restored include:

In addition to funding the nonprofits and agencies, the 2022 budget supports several neighborhood revitalization efforts. They include:

Highland Park
Highland Park sidewalk next to the 280 bridge on Highland Avenue. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now
  • $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

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Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
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