Birmingham Mayor William Bell hosts town hall meeting

Birmingham Mayor William Bell and city department heads had the first of a series of town hall meetings. It gives residents a chance to discuss several topics from abandoned properties, to crime and even bond projects.People could even get some one on one time with city leaders after the meeting to discuss issues even further. Mayor Bell says town hall meetings open up lines of communication.Repaving projects, crime, and abandoned properties. Birmingham residents had some tough questions for Mayor William Bell and city leaders. Rebecca Hardy addressed a drug problem in her neighborhood. "They ask us to call{} them when we have a problem, we call them, but if you don't show up, what good is it to call you."Mayor William Bell says "My goal is to make all of streets safe and to eliminate as much crime possible."City leaders like Police Chief A.C. Roper reached out to Rebecca Hardy and also talked about the newly formed Violent Crime Task Force.Along with{} crime, came numerous questions about repaving, which is part of the 75-million dollar bond referendum. 70-percent of street re-surfacing is complete.. but some are concerned about streets not included. Mayor Bell says, "We didn't have enough money to resurface every street that need it, but we took list council provided and are working on those streets. My obligation is to continue to look for resources to pave other streets." There was also discussion about the Land Banking Bill, helping the city take control of abandoned properties to make improvements. Public works says there are 8,000 lots ready to be cut and improved.Bell says "We try to get the information out to go directly to the citizens to let them know what we're doing, why we're doing it and if there's something we're not doing, and either tell them{} why we're not doing it or get advice when and how we can make that happen." There was no discussion about a delay in approving the budget. The mayor did say after the meeting, he's still negotiating with the council on spending." The next town hall meeting will be August first at 5:30 p.m. at the Crossplex.