Council makes progress on Alaska trip planning

BIRMINGHAM (WBRC) - For weeks now, Birmingham city leaders have argued over a proposed trip to Alaska for neighborhood leaders, and they finally made some progress during Tuesday's city council meeting.

The most expensive itinerary would have cost more than $373,000.

Neighborhood president Sheila Tyson voiced her desire to be one of the 99 presidents to go to the Neighborhood USA conference in Anchorage and some council members agreed.

"I do think the neighborhood officers deserve to go to this conference and I hope this council can decide on this today," City Councilman Steven Hoyt said at the council meeting Tuesday morning.

Mayor William Bell was also on board, but there were 373,000 reasons against it. Some angry residents opposed to spending that kind of money, and some city council members heard from them.

"Let me make it clear, this is just a budget issue for me," City Councilwoman Lashunda Scales said. "This is strictly about where we are financially as a city."

Many council members agreed that the whole situation had gotten out of hand, so President Roderick Royal told the council he wanted a final decision from them during the day's meeting.

After soundly defeating sending 99 delegates, the council agreed to send 29.

However, no one is really sure how much the trip will now cost with the scaled down headcount—the next chapter in this saga.

Councilwoman Valorie Abbott proposed setting up rules about how delegates are chosen for future neighborhood trips.

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