*Release From Birmingham City Council
BIRMINGHAM, AL – On the heels of the upcoming legislative session, Birmingham City Council will meet with area legislators today to discuss matters they would like to present to the Alabama State Senate and House of Representatives. The meeting will begin at 2 p.m. and will take place at the Birmingham Crossplex. Today’s meeting follows a December meeting in which Councilors outlined areas that they are seeking federal and state help from. Council President Johnathan Austin has been persistent about planning joint meetings with area legislators ahead of the legislative sessions to ensure that topics relevant to the growth of Birmingham are front and center when the session begins.
“It is imperative that we continue to hold meetings of this stature to guarantee that the needs of our citizens are not only being addressed at the local level, but at the state and national levels as well,” President Austin said. “These meetings also give us the opportunity to build on the relationships that we have established with our state representatives. We must continue to work together to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Birmingham.”
Top items that will be discussed are: Increased Funding for Education: The City of Birmingham supports the funding of K-12 operational needs. The state Foundation program promises local school systems operational dollars, but has never funded those promises. AASB (Alabama Association of School Boards) urges state focus on significant K-12 needs including the funding of teachers in schools by increasing units and lowering divisors. AASB supports giving school boards maximum flexibility to match state dollars to local priorities aligned with day to day spending and long-term strategic goals; Bus Rapid Transit Funding, which will allow for the construction of a Bus Rapid Transit system to connect neighborhoods to opportunities and encourage long-term revitalization and renewal. The City of Birmingham has successfully received a 20 million dollar TIGER grant from the USDOT for the construction of a new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service. A Tiger Grant requires a dollar for dollar match. This amount will go a long way toward implementing the BRT operating system; and Low Income Tax Credit: legislation supported by the City of Birmingham to increase the number of low income tax credits to a County, especially in Birmingham,Jefferson County. Senate Majority Leader Senator J. T. “Jabo” Waggoner who has been a part of these meetings since the inception says he is eager to sit down once again and discuss topics that will play a major role in the growth of Birmingham.
“These meetings have proved to be very valuable and each time that we sit down and engage in dialogue with each other I have gained greater insight on the topics that must be addressed during the legislative session,” Senator Waggoner said. “I am looking forward to a productive meeting that will allow us to be well prepared ahead of the upcoming session.”
The Legislature will convene for it’s regular annual session on February 2, 2016.
For media inquiries please contact Birmingham City Council Director of Public Information Brittany Sharp at 205.721.5369.