City Council meeting, June 8, 2015

There being nothing much else of interest tonight, here is the list of 11 applicants to the Ward 4 place vacated by Heather Reid, who is moving from Homewood.  Interviews will be held next week, schedule and details to be announced here. Billy Beers (applicant for the Jenifer Wallis Ward 4 vacancy last year); Clara Creel, Donald Hinds II (Duke), John Holley, Christopher J. McCaghren, Chris Meeks (Park Board chairman), Rhonda Rush (Homewood High School teacher and applicant for Ms. Wallis’s ward 4 vacancy), Joe Stephens (who lost against Ms. Reid in the council election and was also an applicant for Ms. Wallis’s seat), Mark Whiteside, Alex Wyatt, and Jason Zaharis.

GENFUNDEXPAlso of note was the vote accepting the mid-year budget report, presented at a May 26 special called Finance Committee meeting. Sparse bulleted details of that presentation are provided below. Here are the charts that accompanied it and a copy of the mid-year cash balances as of March 31, 2015:

Members present: Michael Hallman, Britt Thames, Fred Hawkins, Vance Moody, Walter Jones, Patrick McClusky, Barry Smith, and Richard Laws. Also present was Mayor Scott McBrayer.

Members absent:
Walter Jones, Peter Wright, and council president Bruce Limbaugh. Mr. Moody was elected to chair the meeting in the absence of the president and president pro tem.

Staff present: City clerk Linda Cook, city attorney Mike Kendrick, mayor’s chief of staff J. J. Bischoff, Melody Salter, finance director, and Greg Cobb, city Building, Engineering and Zoning staff.

Audience attendance: 6

Approved minutes of the April 27, 2015, meeting.

Opened an at-large seat for the Homewood Environmental Commission: Applications will be taken until the last council meeting in July.

CONSENT AGENDA

Dropped a resolution censuring the Birmingham Water Works for poor quality street repair. The matter was dropped after water works board executives once again made personal appearances at a council committee and promised to do better.

OLD BUSINESS AGENDA

Carried over a proposed contract to inspect city streets and recommend a maintenance program. This $40,000 contract with Volkert Engineers is perennially carried over while the city awaits approval on a federal grant to cover 80% of the cost, or $32,000.

DoDiYo's is stripped of signage now, but will soon replace worn signs with new banners and an entrance awning. The business will announce a new tenant in the Salsarita's space.

DoDiYo’s is stripped of signage now, but will soon replace worn signs with new banners and an entrance awning. The business will announce a new tenant in the Salsarita’s space.

Approved a sign variance for Do Di Yo’s:  The SoHo restaurant at 1831 28th Avenue South, and largest retailer in the development, is replacing worn banners and building signs and is preparing to lease the Salsarita’s space around the corner to a new restaurant, TBA. DoDiYo’s request is for a variance to the number of signs allowed in the SoHo district, specifically three horizontal banners on the plaza level. The entrance awning is also being replaced.

Carried over a front yard fence variance for a small housing development on Broadway: The applicant for five small houses at 902 Broadway Street, the “triangle” property, asked that his request be postponed to the next meeting. The Board of Zoning Adjustment earlier this week granted four variances on second floor side setbacks.

Approved a stop sign at Gatsby Court and Shadesview Terrace: The city will install a stop sign near where an existing sign was installed by the developer years ago. The measure carries with it a parking prohibition for 50 feet in either direction of the intersection.

Close on the 2012 Park Construction Fund warrants: This item has been on the agenda for over a year. Tonight, the council closed out reporting on the bond issue, as required, and moved $3,500 from the Debt Service Fund to pay for legal services with Balch & Bingham. The vote authorizes the mayor to sign the relevant papers and pay the bill.

Approved the 2015 “Back-to-School” Sales Tax Holiday in August: – The city will once again participate with other Alabama municipalities in an annual tax holiday, Aug. 7-9, 2015, in which certain items related to education are exempt from local sales and use taxes.

GENFUNDSALESREVAccepted the finance director’s presentation of the mid-year budget review: The mid-year review was presented in a poorly attended specially called Finance Committee meeting and accepted tonight by the full council.

GENFUNDREVSThe full spreadsheet report distributed to the council mayor and other officials calculates where each department stands at mid-year compared to 50% of the budgeted projection adopted Sept. 30, 2014. The 50% mark, however, is only a guide, as most property taxes are collected by March, but sales taxes come in all year and can fluctuate. Presented here is only the summary, charts and notes discussed at the committee meeting.

Finance director Melody Salter said revenues were up by 1.5% compared to the same period a year ago.

  • She said the city needs help with its Capital Fund balance.
  • Mr. Wright, council liaison to the school system, said the Board of Education is experiencing significant financial trouble, but due to state funding.
  • Approximately 40% – 50% of the budget is attributable to payroll, and the municipal contribution to the Retirement Systems of Alabama is expected to increase. Employee health insurance premiums are unknown until later in the year.
  • The city had collected $4.47 million in business licenses fees by the end of May. The city is expecting two large building projects for the current fiscal year.

Approved an 18th Street Revitalization project: A comprehensive plan affecting parking and zoning downtown was approved and simultaneously referred to the Finance Committee for discussion.

Set a June 22 public hearing for a new parking plan on on 28th Avenue South: The hearing will address changes to the development plan of a lot at 1659 28th Avenue South rezoned to Mixed Use District zoning. f

COMMITTEE REFERRAL AGENDA

To Finance -To consider 1) A request to switch from American Express purchasing card to Iberia Bank Visa cards; and 2) Accepting an $8,044 federal Homeland Security grant for the fire department.

To Planning and Development – To consider 1) Creating an ad hoc committee to look at parking solutions; and 2) A request for rezoning to accommodate a $51 million project of the Brookwood Medical Center, building a Neuro-Orthopedics center and parking deck on the site originally planned for the woman’s health center, heard and approved by the Planning Commission.

To Public Works – To consider 1) An unspecified easement at 108 Woodmont, requested by Scott Dean; and 2) Re-paving an alley on East Edgewood Boulevard.

To Public Safety – To consider supporting a state liquor license application for La Sabrosita restaurant at 191 West Valley Avenue, Suite 100.

To Special Issues – To consider 1) A driveway variance at 3104 Roxbury Road; and 2) A driveway and fence variance at 605 Oakmoor Drive.

OTHER NEW BUSINESS

Set June 22 public hearings on the variances requested on Oakmoor Drive and Roxbury Road, above.

Brookwood's planned Orthopedic pavilion and parking deck will occupy the site originally planned for its woman's health center.

Brookwood’s planned Orthopedic pavilion and parking deck will occupy the site originally planned for its woman’s health center.

Set a July 13 public hearing for a Brookwood hospital rezoning and building project: The hearing is held before the council votes whether to rezone a site at 525 Brookwood Boulevard from commercial to institutional for a $51 million private orthopedic practice and parking deck. See Planning Commission decision here.

Paid the bills – The council voted to pay invoices for the May 18-June 5, 2015 period.

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