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Birmingham Restores Two Paid Holidays For City Workers 

By Erica Wright
The Birmingham Times

The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to restore two paid city holidays for employees.

Workers will receive pay for Good Friday and Memorial Day, two of nine of city paid holidays suspended last year as part of cost-cutting measures in the 2020-21 fiscal budget caused by COVID-19.

On Monday, Mayor Randall Woodfin recommended restoring the pay following a presentation by the city’s finance director to members of the City Council’s Committee of the Whole.

“I want to thank members of the council for working with me to take the steps to address these holidays,” Woodfin said. “Our employees have shown their commitment to public service and as we move closer to the new fiscal year, the projected budget numbers support the opportunity to revisit the conversation about city holiday pay [for Good Friday and Memorial Day]. This represents part of our deep appreciation and respect to each and every one of our city employees.”

During the committee meeting, Finance Director Lester Smith detailed that current trends for city revenue have improved since the initial projections based on economic declines early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city initially projected a $63 million revenue shortfall based on economic declines in 2020 due to the impact of the pandemic. Part of that shortfall would be offset by taking $26 million from reserve funds leaving a $37 million shortage. Federal stimulus funds coupled with the partial recovery of tax revenue following the initial decline has led to the city revising the initial projection.

Actual year over year revenue losses for fiscal year 2021 through seven months are just over $17 million, reducing the projected impact on the reserve fund to about $3 million.

Woodfin has also committed to employees and the council to include merit pay, Cost of Living Adjustment, longevity pay and full pay for city holidays to the proposed 2022 budget. Even during reductions in the 2021 budget, the city committed more than $28 million to the pension fund, more than double the amount contributed by the city to the pension in 2017.

In addition, Woodfin told members of the council that stimulus funds from the recently passed American Rescue Plan may provide additional funding for city employees’ current pandemic-related service.

The city will receive $148.8 million as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan signed into law last week by President Joe Biden. 

“Now that the American Rescue Plan has been signed into law, we have a clearer view of what it can mean for the city. There is a great deal of guidance we must consider from the federal government, but I commit to the employees today that we are focused on supporting all of them for their continued service due to this pandemic,” Woodfin said.

birminghalal.gov contributed to this post