Birmingham approves $65 million budget cuts

By Ashley Nix

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Mayor William Bell promised budget cuts were coming to Birmingham.  Tuesday, $65 million worth of cuts became a reality.  

It's all in an effort to make up for the city's budget deficit.

$42 million worth of capital projects are off the table for now.  The other $23 million comes in the form of cuts to each and every city department.  Mayor Bell asked the council to work with urgency in passing the cuts to balance the budget before the fiscal year ends on June 30th.

"To be frank, were not going to have enough money for everything we want to do," Mayor Bell said. "Not only this year, but also next fiscal year."

In an effort to slash the deficit, councilors voted to slash the $65-million, hoping to balance the budget. Councilor Johnathan Austin said he commended the mayor for coming up with the plan.  

"I think this is very important to move this city forward and making sure we are on solid ground,"  Austin said.

That solid ground means cuts all around City Hall.  Councilor Carole Smitherman reminded her fellow councilors the cuts mean there's not much left.  

"All of our money is gone, none for consultant, none of that," Smitherman said.  "If this passes, then this takes all of the money from us and we have to operate from what we have."

The city will now heavily depend on recovery zone bonds to help fund capital projects that will no longer be in this fiscal years budget, such as the intermodal facility, Negro Baseball League project, street paving and improvements to public parks.

"Were removing this from our budget because of the financial situation," Councilor Valerie Abbott said. "But the intention is to find other sources of funding to pay for these items."

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