BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Today Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin again defended his budget plan. The city is facing a $63 million budget cut due to the impact of the coronavirus.
Mayor Woodfin spoke to community leaders and faith leaders in Birmingham on a teleconference. He said again the city is combating a lot of misinformation and he needs their help to spread the word about the hard decisions that have to be made.
The proposed budget is $414 million, down from $451 million the previous year.
“Let me say public safety and infrastructure will continue. Our commitment to neighborhood revitalization will not change. But this budget will reduce cost in most categories,” Woodfin said.
At one point the city was looking to furlough 373 full and part time workers but that dropped to 87. The city was able to move workers to other positions.
“A majority of the park and rec employees are still with us. We also know that some of them have transferable skills back to public works,” Woodfin said.
Woodfin was questioned about why the police department is getting money for equipment such as license plate readers. “These license plates readers are very helpful to us as an additional tool when there is a crime committed and we have culture of people not sharing information,” Woodfin said.
The group of some 800 was polled and 76% said they do not want the police department de-funded. Finally Woodfin asked the group for help lobbying Washington DC for a bailout for US cities.
“Pass a bill to give federal funding to offset the shortfall for cities, then we can be in better position to take care of everybody so we won’t have to make tough decisions,” Woodfin said.
Woodfin said the U.S. House of Representatives has approved a plan to help cities and he wants the group to contact both Alabama Senators to pass the plan. He says bailouts have happened for transit and non-profits but not cities.