Bell, Royal at odds with proposed city budget - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Bell, Royal at odds with proposed city budget

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

26 days into the new fiscal year and Birmingham still has no budget.

"It does impact initiatives, new initiatives that we want to put in place," Mayor William Bell said. "It impacts the equipment necessary for our law enforcement and impacts initiatives in neighborhoods and communities."

But Bell says services, like fire, police and trash pick-up are not impacted. That's because they're operating on last year's budget.

So, what's the hold up with the new budget?

"I, personally, think it's unacceptable," Council President, Roderick Royal, said.

Royal says Bell's proposed budget doesn't make sense, especially when it comes to possible pay raises.

"The mayor cut 19, every department in the city, by 19 percent," he said. "We really don't have the money to do raises at all."

Another issue is how much to fund non-profits.

"You won't find a stronger advocate for non-profit organizations than William Bell," Bell said.

But Royal says to look at the proof.

In Bell's own proposal, non-profits went from little to no funding. Bell blames tough times.

"You have to make sure that the basic, core responsibilities of the city are addressed," he said.

He says the issue could be revisited when times improve. He also says his modified budget does have allowances for some non-profits.

But some say Royal has ulterior motives for challenging the mayor. Some say he is planning on running for mayor in the next election.

"That's not my motive," he said. "I've been real clear about what I'm trying to do and what I'm trying to do is get the lowest paid workers in the city some sort of reasonable raise. That's what I'm trying to do."

Bell says his modified budget should be presented to city councilors, Friday. It could be on the city council's agenda, Tuesday.

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