Birmingham council finance committee considers budget with merit - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Birmingham council finance committee considers budget with merit raises

Source: WBRC file video Source: WBRC file video

Birmingham councilors are considering a newly proposed budget that reinstates merit raises for city employees such as firefighters and police officers.

Members of the Birmingham council finance committee accepted a measure to add the merit raises to the proposed budget once more.

Birmingham Mayor William Bell and City Council President Johnathan Austin presented the compromise last week after councilors removed the merit raises. They said with the city facing a $13 million-deficit, there just wasn't enough money for the merit raises.

"It's obviously important to put funding in place to reward those individuals who have done a great job of protecting us. It still does not come without sacrafice," Austin said.

And that's what has one councilor concerned.

"The question is: Can we afford it?" councilor Valerie Abbot said. "I certainly don't want the residents of Birmingham to suffer because we wanted to give people raises."

And because the city is facing that large deficit, Abbott says there will be very little wiggle room in the budget.

"But if it's the will of the council [to approve the budget with merit raises], and as long as the mayor understands that he can't come back to us and ask for money repeatedly throughout the year, everything is going to be fine," Abbott said.

The budget will be presented to the full council Tuesday.

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