Langford, council talk unicorns, city budget

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford, in a show of solidarity, gave Birmingham City Councilors all unicorns at Tuesday's meeting.

Last week, Council President Carole Smitherman compared the projected revenues for the 2010 budget to believing in unicorns.  So, Langford decided to give all councilors a figurine of the imaginary animal.

"I got to looking at the history of that unicorn," Langford told councilors.  "The unicorn is a symbol of magic."

The magic, spoken of by Carole Smitherman, was referring to 2010 projected revenues in Langford's original budget.  Langford says instead of disagreeing, he wanted to say thanks by giving out the unicorns.

The mayor also spoke of all the projects he and councilors has achieved during his tenor as mayor.

But Tuesday, councilors delayed the 2010 budget by another month.  Council President Carole Smitherman hopes it will get done sooner.

"I can't say enough, we have to pass a budget," Smitherman said. Late Monday, Smitherman released a fourth version of the budget, putting the 'at question' $26 million in a fund balance, or savings account, until a state audit is completed.  The intent for the audit was unanimously passed Tuesday.

"We would like to know what's actually in the bank account for the money," Councilor Carol Duncan said.  "And continue to grow the city in the direction we need to grow in the next few years."

Councilor Jonathan Austin is concerned about the entire process taking entirely too long.  "We need to have a budget in place right now,"  Austin said late Tuesday.  "We're operating on a budget that's $13 million more than what was presented to us."

Councilors will consider scheduling another budget workshop to try and iron out the 2010 budget this week.  Stay tuned to FOX 6 for the latest developments.