Birmingham City Council announces 2017 legislative agenda - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL


Birmingham City Council announces 2017 legislative agenda

File image of the Birmingham City Council. Source: WBRC video File image of the Birmingham City Council. Source: WBRC video

Birmingham City Councilors played host to Alabama lawmakers weeks before the regular session begins in Montgomery.

The meeting at Regions Field allowed the council to identify it's priorities for the legislative session.

“When we look at education, reducing crime, revitalizing our neighborhoods, these are our top priorities,” Council President Johnathan Austin said.

The legislative agenda for the council included economic development incentives, expansion of the Alabama Innovation Fund and support for the Birmingham International Trade Port Authority.

In addition, the council has asked lawmakers to not only to re-establish the Historic Preservation Tax Credit, but make it permanent.

An independent review of the state's tax incentives has been ongoing with a report expected to lawmakers sometime in February.

Sen. Jabo Waggoner, a Vestavia Hills Republican and chairman of the Jefferson County Senate delegation, said he would sponsor legislation to re-establish the tax credit.

"It means so much to Birmingham. You look at the Pizitz Building, Lyric Theatre and the Redmond Hotel, it's been a great benefit," Sen. Waggoner said.

Councilors also identified several measures to address crime reduction and alternative sentencing.

One measure Austin identified was funding social workers in schools.

"Crime reduction is a priority," Austin said. "I don't think the best way is building larger prisons, but to create opportunities for individuals."

Council members and lawmakers have clashed previously concerning changes to the city's Mayor Council Act, an expansion of the Birmingham Water Works Board and efforts to roll back the council's resolutions to increase members' pay and increase the city's minimum wage.

Waggoner said he would be willing to listen to the council's concerns in the legislative session.

"We'll give them a fair shake and take it one bill at a time," he said.

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