Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin on Wednesday outlined his plans to city council for Birmingham’s 2019 operating budget, which calls for an $8 million increase over 2018’s.
“It’s a new day in Birmingham. Not just through the budget process, but with how we spend tax dollars. The budget we have created falls in line with our core values and commitment to neighborhood revitalization. It represents some difficult and responsible decisions that must be made to support our priorities,” Woodfin said to the councilors.
Woodfin proposed a $436 million dollar budget, that focus on five broad areas from which to work:
- Personnel: Includes a one percent cost of living adjustment for city employees, as well as the continuation of longevity pay. Also eliminates 133 vacant positions, saving the $4.7 million.
- Operations: Establishes a Preventive Maintenance Program with a plan to address the needs of the city infrastructure. Will begin with an initial investment of half a million dollars.
- Overtime: Identifies opportunities to reduce overtime costs through efficiency and accountability.
- New standards for the funding of boards and agencies: All non-departments must submit budgets that focus more on programs and services for the residents of Birmingham and not primarily to support salaries. In addition, an internal audit process of all contracts will be put in place.
- Neighborhood revitalization: Creates new standards to support our absolute priority of neighborhood revitalization. Reflects demands to increase funding for demolition and weed abatement, sidewalks and paving roads. Establishes of the Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity, and a priority will be set for an increase and support in small business growth in our neighborhoods.
Woodfin explained the budget review process began in January.
“We held three days of departmental training, which followed with the request forms to be returned and reviewed by the Budget Office at the end of February,” the mayor explained. “Throughout this process, there were two critical messages. Each department must prioritize needs over wants. There were no sacred cows. Nothing is viewed as untouchable… the positions we have taken demand accountability from within the departments and non-departments.”
Woodfin said he plans to present his budget at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, ahead of a May 20 deadline as the 2019 fiscal year begins July 1.
Read a full transcript of the mayor’s plan here.