Birmingham councilor considers legal action over budget delay

Twenty-three days into a new fiscal year, and Birmingham is still without a budget.

Some city leaders say they've done all they can to reach a compromise. In fact, Councilor Steven Hoyt says it's now time to seek legal action.

"I think it's the duty of this council to go across the street and file a lawsuit," Hoyt says.

However, retired judge and council legal advisor J. Richmond Pearson says, according{}to the Mayor-Council Act, the city finance director, who reports to Bell, must certify a balanced budget and place it on the agenda for a vote. However, the Council can ask a judge to step in.

At issue, Bell has requested more money for a new mowing program as well as additional funding for Civil Rights Movement commemoration events. Instead councilors want to use most of that money to support their council offices and projects.

Bell's chief of staff Chuck Faush says the mayor, on three occasions, sent back budget revisions to councilors. Faush says they rejected his plans. Councilors say once the budget is on the agenda, Bell can either amend it or veto it.

But until it comes up for a vote, 2014 spending will operate within last year's limits.