The Birmingham City Council voted unanimously to restore Good Friday and Memorial day as paid city holidays for municipal workers Tuesday, after recommendations by the mayor and the city’s finance director.
Both holidays — two of nine paid city holidays — were cut due to financial constraints brought on by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin recommended that both paid holidays be reinstated Monday after a presentation by Birmingham Finance Director Lester Smith during a council meeting.
“I want to thank members of the council for working with me to take the steps to address these holidays,” Woodfin said. “Our employees have shown their commitment to public service and as we move closer to the new fiscal year, the projected budget numbers support the opportunity to revisit the conversation about city holiday pay for Good Friday and Memorial Day–, This represents part of our deep appreciation and respect to each and every one of our city employees.”
Smith said during the committee meeting that current trends for the city’s revenue have improved since the city’s initial projections, which estimated a $63 million revenue shortfall for Birmingham in 2021. Once the city took $26 million from reserve funds, the shortfall offset to $37 million.
A partial recovery of tax revenue following this initial decline, combined with federal stimulus funds, led the city to reconsider its initial projections.
According to a statement from the mayor’s office, revenue losses for the fiscal year 2021 through the first seven months are just over $17 million, reducing the projected impact on the reserve fund to about $3 million.
“Now that the American Rescue Plan has been signed into law, we have a clearer view of what it can mean for the city,” Woodfin said. “There is a great deal of guidance we must consider from the federal government, but I commit to the employees today that we are focused on supporting all of them for their continued service due to this pandemic.”
Woodfin said that stimulus funds from the recently passed American Rescue Plan may provide additional funding for city employees’ current pandemic-related service. Birmingham is set to receive more than $148 million from the American Rescue Plan. How those federal funds will be allocated has yet to be finalized.