In recent weeks, the Birmingham City Council has come under fire for their lofty expenditures, from travel costs to a pay raise that will take effect in 2017. But what about the money that gets put into the community by way of the city council’s discretionary budget?
These expenditures vary from catering companies to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The data provided by city officials covers the time period from July 1, 2013 to Sept. 1, 2015.
Each district has an itemized list outlining where money was spent and in some cases a brief description of services rendered.
District 1: Lashunda Scales
In terms of discretionary spending, Councilor Lashunda Scales spent $28,858.74 more than any other councilor, with expenditures totaling $127,899.40. Of that money, $2,000 went to the YMCA of Birmingham and $50,000 to the NAACP of Metro Birmingham.
The biggest expenditure from Scales’ discretionary fund came in two separate payments to REV Birmingham, totaling $69,200.00, neither of which offers a description of services rendered.
District 2: Kimberly Rafferty
Some of Councilor Kimberly Rafferty’s biggest expenditures were to a variety of organizations. Rafferty allocated $1,600 to the Wonder Book Camp; $4,000 to the Highland Golf Course for a sponsorship of the Mayor’s Golf Classic; five payments totaling $4,000 to William J. Christian School.
The payments to William J. Christian did not have a check number listed nor any alternative form of payment stated in the document. In this time period, Rafferty’s discretionary spending totals came to $94,736.22.
District 3: Valerie Abbott
Amounting to a total of $72,849.00, Councilor Valerie Abbott’s largest contributions were $10,000 to the NAACP of Birmingham; $8,245 to REV Birmingham; $7,499.00 to the Birmingham Zoo; $5,000 to the Vulcan Park Foundation; $5,000 to the Alabama Symphony; and $5,000 to Jefferson County.
District 4: William Parker
Councilor William Parker’s expenditures include $10,000 to the University of Alabama at Birmingham; $10,000 to the Alabama Sports Foundation to sponsor the Magic City Classic; two payments totaling $5,000 to Magic City Smooth Jazz Inc.; $5,000 to Yar Tay Company Inc., a concession company; $4,000 to Creative Catering; $3,333.34 to the Alabama Symphony; and $2,500 to Flair Flowers and Décor.
All told, Parker had $70,865 in discretionary allocations.
District 5: Johnathan Austin
Councilor Johnathan Austin’s largest contribution was $25,000 to the Grodner Group, a marketing company. The description on the invoice reads, “Fun Day Supplies.” Austin also contributed $10,233.00 to Yar Tay Company Inc., for District 5 Fun Day (a total of $35,233.00 for District 5 Fun Day)
Rounding out the other major expenditures for District 5 were: $15,000 to the group Women Achieving Victory; $5,000 to the Alabama Symphony; $5,000 to the Dannon Project (a job preparation organization); and $3,500 to Birmingham Artwalk. Austin had $95,294.50 in expenditures.
District 6: Sheila Tyson
Councilor Sheila Tyson’s largest discretionary expenditure was $18,500 to NAACP of Birmingham. The other major expenditures were $8,000 to the Vulcan Legal Group; $5,000 to the Birmingham Zoo; $4,375.00 for tickets to the Magic City Classic; $4,200 to the Titusville Development; and $2,400 to Soul Circus LLC.
Of all the council members, Tyson had the least amount of discretionary expenditures with $64,042.
District 7: Jay Roberson
Councilor Jay Roberson allocated $20,000 to the Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church; $5,922.30 to the Birmingham Athletic Partnership; $3,333.33 to the Alabama Symphony; $3,000 to Soul Circus Inc.; $2,500 to the Sickle Cell Disease Association; and $1,500 to the American Cancer Society.
In total, Roberson had $88,585.33 in discretionary expenditures.
District 8: Steven Hoyt
Councilor Steven Hoyt’s largest allocations were $10,000 to REV Birmingham; $5,000 to Miles College; $4,000 to the Birmingham Board of Education; $3,500 to the United Negro College Fund; and $2,000 to the AG Gaston Boys and Girls Club, amounting to a total of $66,659.56.
District 9: Marcus Lundy
Councilor Marcus Lundy, who had the second highest discretionary expenditures, with $99,040.66, allocated $28,630.06 to the Magic City Smooth Jazz Inc.; $13,415.24 to the Toussaint L. Hale Scholarship fund; $8,750 to the Birmingham Board of Education; $6,000 to Holy Family Elementary; $6,000 to the Fresh Water Land Trust; and $2,500 to Alabama A&M University.