Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson is continuing his search for an IT Director after appointee Augustus Bramble suddenly withdrew from the position for personal reasons, about three weeks after his original appointment, it was announced today. Stimpson called the position “hugely important,” as departments look for new software to aid with financial efficiencies.
At the regularly scheduled city council meeting today, Stimpson also said some progress was being made on an amended budget, although he couldn’t provide a timeline for when it would be turned over to the council for approval. The mayor said the revised budget was a “work in progress” and prior to a finance committee meeting today at 2 p.m., some departments had already made 11 to 12 revisions, but had reached no final numbers. Late last year, Stimpson’s administration announced the budget was passed in October with $15 million gap.
“We’ll present it to the council soon,” he said. “My guess is they’ll want the Citizens Finance Oversight Committee as well as the council’s Finance Committee to look at it so we’ll present it to the council and they’ll decide what the pathway is after that.”
In other business, the council heard an appeal from Jerrlyn London, who owns a vacant lot in the vicinity of Ladd Stadium where for generations, her family has sold overflow parking spaces to attendees of the Senior Bowl and more recently, the GoDaddy Bowl and University of South Alabama games.
During the Senior Bowl this year, she was approached by two employees from the revenue department and a Mobile Police officer, who told her she needed a business license to collect money for parking.
“They came out of nowhere and said if I didn’t pay $138 I would be given a ticket,” she said. “So I counted out the money and they gave me a receipt that said ‘Senior Bowl only.’”
London said she can fit approximately 30 cars on the property and any revenue she collects is used to cut the grass from March through November. While her appeal was to ask the council for an annual permit, City Attorney Ricardo Woods said he would work to refund her costs completely and forgive fines issued to five other property owners this year.
Woods said the enforcement this year was based on another resident’s complaint, emphasizing it was not an order of the administration. Still, Stimpson said he would take “full responsibility” for the episode and encouraged the City Council to amend ordinances on event-based business licenses to exclude any requirements for property owners around the stadium.
Working through the agenda, the council also adopted an ordinance allowing dual menu boards and multiple vehicle lanes at drive-through restaurants outside of historic districts. It also approved the re-allocation of $1.5 million from the City Share Economic Development Fund to a resurfacing and widening project on Baker Street, which is part of improvements around the Airbus facility. Gulf Equipment Corporation was awarded a $1,425,671 contract for the work.
Another $200,000 was re-allocated from the same fund to provide for improvements at Pinebrook Shopping Center.