Author: Lewis Bruce
During their Tuesday meeting, the Birmingham City Council approved a pilot funding program that will provide 110 single mothers with monthly payments of $375.
The program, recommended to the council by Mayor Woodfin, is funded by the California-based coalition Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, which seeks to establish a guaranteed income for underserved families across the United States.
“In the city of Birmingham, with households that have children 18 and under living at home, of those households, 61% are led by single mothers,” said Amelia Muller, civic design principal in the office of the mayor. “That’s about 30,000 households total.”
The city will pay nonprofit group The Penny Foundation a total of $40,000 to distribute the $500,000 grant over 12 months through debit cards issued to the families. $10,000 will also be paid to local nonprofit East Lake Initiative to offer one-on-one counseling with each recipient to help them navigate benefits under the program.
“I think it’s a good approach, certainly, if it can reach the people that need to be reached,” said District 8 Councilor Steven Hoyt.
Hoyt is one of three city council members who attended their final city council meeting on Tuesday, the other two being John Hilliard, councilor of District 9, and William Parker, city council president and councilor of District 4. Both councilors lost their respective runoff elections on Oct. 5. The meeting ended with heartfelt goodbyes to the two departing council members.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to work with two of my favorite colleagues, both Councilor Hilliard and President Parker,” said Councilor Hunter Williams of District 2. “They are both very passionate about representing their districts and representing the city.”
Hilliard was cherished by his fellow council members for his dedicated advocacy for his constituents, with some often referring to him as a cheerleader for his city and his district. District 9’s new councilor, LaTonya Tate, takes a seat on the council dais on Oct. 26 after having narrowly beaten Hilliard in the Oct. 5th runoff.
Likewise, Council President William Parker faced the end of his eight-year tenure as the representative for District 4 on Oct. 5, losing his seat to activist J.T. Moore.
“President Parker, I just want to say thank you so much. You were the main one that encouraged me to go out for the Birmingham City Council almost three years ago. You’ve always supported me, from day one. You’ve always taken my visions and helped me to execute them. You’re such a visionary,” said Councilor Crystal Smitherman of District 7.
The council saw multiple developments in infrastructure during Tuesday’s meeting, approving a finalized deal between the city and telecommunications giant C Spire to bring fiber-optic broadband internet to the Birmingham area, allowing consumers more choice in the paper-thin
telecom provider market. They also authorized a deal between the mayor and the Alabama Department of Transportation to begin work repaving a number of streets, including the Red Mountain Expressway — a road that locals have taken extreme issue with in recent years.
In other news, the council also approved the following:
– Codifying Juneteenth Independence Day as a Birmingham city holiday.
– Adopting the Division “G” Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan, laying the groundwork for a number of steps to help prevent disasters like the flooding observed on Oct. 7. The council encouraged citizens to report flood damage on their online portal, which can be accessed here.
– Officially recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month