Mayor Bell offers ideas to trim costs for Alaskan trip

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - By Emily Luxen

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Mayor William Bell says sending neighborhood leaders to Alaska for an annual conference will now be much cheaper. The trip has been controversial because of its original $373,000 price tag.

At the the Citizens Advisory Board meeting Monday night, Mayor Bell announced several recommendations he thinks will save the city money and help make the trip be more effective.

Bell said only 121 people will attend the conference, rather than 168 neighborhood leaders. They will fly commercial rather than on a chartered flight. That saves $120,000. They will double-up on hotel rooms. That saves $80,000. Under the mayor's plan, the trip is expected to cost around $170,000.

The mayor is also requiring orientations to make sure workshops are attended and information is shared. The council has to sign off on the trip. Councilors are scheduled to vote on this issue at Tuesday's meeting.

Birmingham neighborhood leaders have attended this annual conference for more than 25 years.

Mayor Bell says the circumstances were different this year because the location for the conference is so far away.

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