Birmingham Mayor proposes budget for 2015

Birmingham Mayor William Bell proposes a five percent merit raise for city employees among other items in his proposed 2015 budget.ABC 33/40 obtained a copy of the more than $393 million budget Bell gave to city leaders Tuesday.In a letter preceding the budget, Bell proposed continuing the city's tuition reimbursement program and funding new technology in city hall that would allow the department to go paperless. He also talked about the success of Regions Field, Uptown and the Westin.{}"Our lodging tax is up over 17 percent compared to last year," Bell said. "At the same time, we are making strategic investments in revitalizing our neighborhoods.Bell talked about the success of Mow More as well as future plans for the newly-approved Land Bank Authority and RISE program.{}Birmingham City Council President says he supports both initiatives and giving citizens a "hand up not a hand out." Hear more from Austin on the News at 6.{}Austin also tells ABC 33/40 the City Council will make recommendations and send back the budget to Bell by May 30.Stay with us for more on this developing story.