Birmingham mayor defends cuts in city budget proposal

B'ham mayor defends cuts in city budget proposal

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin came out in defense of his proposed budget for the city of Birmingham on Tuesday.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city is looking at a $63 million cut to the city’s operation budget. That means furloughs and cuts to some city services.

Woodfin said there is a deliberate misinformation campaign going on about the budget cuts. The mayor wants to protect some city services and jobs, but tough decisions have to be made.

More than 100 part time workers have been notified they will be furloughed indefinitely. On September 12, some 259 full time workers will be furloughed.

The mayor says some boards and agencies are pushing for restoring their funding.

“Out of the left side of many people’s mouths, they say they understand there has to be cuts. Out of the right side of their mouths, they say don’t cut me,” Woodfin said.

A lot of the cuts and furloughs are coming from libraries, parks, recreation and cultural agencies. Woodfin said reduced services by the library board is necessary.

“The current format of how people engage our library system - curbside, online, archives online - that is not going to stop,” Woodfin said.

It will be up to the library board to determine which employees will be furloughed. The Birmingham Board of Education is getting less money - about a million dollars.

But the mayor said the money doesn’t go to children in the classroom but to jobs.

“The city of Birmingham is furloughing employees. We are giving extra money and that is what it is - extra money to an organization we support and believe in while we are furloughing people. That is not going to happen,” Woodfin said.

Woodfin said he wants the city council to approve the budget by October 1. Council President William Parker says that is not necessary. The council plans to meet with the library along with parks and recreation to discuss the budget cuts.

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