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Woodfin’s Proposed $517M Fiscal 2023 Budget Is Lacking, Residents Tell Birmingham City Council

From left: Councilor Hunter Williams, President Pro Tem Crystal Smitherman, Chair of the budget committee, Wardine Alexander, Council President. (WBRC FOX 6 SCREENGRAB)

The Birmingham Times

Birmingham City Councilors got an earful Monday night about Mayor Randall Woodfin’s $517 million proposed budget for fiscal 2023, which begins July 1.

In the first of two budget hearings at City Hall, dozens of residents told councilors they wanted more money for flood prevention, libraries, street resurfacing, and neighborhood revitalization, adding that their cars are being destroyed by potholes, lights are out in some parking lots, and they want money for the food deserts in northern parts of the city.

“I hope y’all look at this budget and take our concerns seriously,” Central Park neighborhood resident Susan Palmer said. “Because it is time out that we are promised things and we are not given those things we are promised.”

The FY 2023 budget was presented to the council by Woodfin in May and still awaits a council vote before the start of fiscal year in three weeks.

The mayor’s proposed $517,017,653 spending plan is $60 million more than last year’s which totaled $455,014,242. It focuses on new and existing youth programs and increases funding for every city department among other areas.

Council President Pro-Tem Crystal Smitherman, Chairman for the city’s Budget and Finance Committee, said the hearings will help members decide a final spending plan during discussions with the mayor.

“Being able to talk to the mayor about ‘hey, these are the priorities that these people want, let’s see if we can move the money around to change it, or if not, let’s see if we can get grant or federal funding for their needs’,” Smitherman said.

The council will host another budget hearing on June 16 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.