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Birmingham Mayor, Council to Host Budget Town Hall on March 18

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Birmingham City Council President Darrell O'Quinn and Councilor Crystal Smitherman share details of the upcoming Budget Town Hall Meeting. (Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson Photo, For The Birmingham Times)

 By Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson

For The Birmingham Times

Mayor Randall Woodfin and the Birmingham City Council will host a 2024 Budget Town Hall on Monday, March 18 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the Boutwell Auditorium, located at 1930 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Boulevard.

Council leaders say the town hall will not only educate residents about the city’s finances and, but it will also give them a transparent look at the work of City Hall.

The initiative will “better explain how city government works,” which will include information about the city budget, how decisions are made and how the city supports its 99 neighborhoods, said Council President Darrell O’Quinn. “This is really a component of a larger education initiative. Folks often don’t realize that the same three branches of government that they see at the federal and state level also exist at the municipal level.”

Councilor Crystal Smitherman added the effort is important for residents to see the community to see the mayor and council as “one government. We’re not separate. I know this is a big priority for the mayor,” she said.

Smitherman said she can remember when her mother, Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Carole Smitherman, once served on the Birmingham City Council.

“Just seeing … the strife, a lot of fighting between the council and the mayor, I actually learned from that administration that it’s better for us to talk … about the budget and make sure there’s a lot more transparency with it,” said Councilor Smitherman. “Hopefully [residents] will know that we’re working on behalf of them, and the budget will reflect any priorities they would like to see in their neighborhood.”

The fiscal year for the City of Birmingham begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. On or before May 20, the mayor submits to the City Council a proposed General Fund Operating Budget for the fiscal year commencing the following July 1.

Woodfin was not in attendance at Tuesday’s council meeting. The mayor is attending an education conference (SXSW EDU) in Austin, TX.