Birmingham’s new mayor, William Bell, was installed Tuesday.
Bell, a Democrat, had been a Jefferson County commissioner since November 2008. He was elected mayor last month to finish out the remaining 19 months of Larry Langford’s term. Langford was removed as mayor last year after he was convicted on 60 federal charges related to the county’s sewer debt refinancing.
On Monday, Bell announced he would seek assistance reviewing the city’s finances and debt structure from James Holbrook Jr., chief executive officer at Sterne, Agee & Leach Inc. in Birmingham.
Birmingham faces a budget shortfall that various city departments anticipate because their budgets for fiscal 2010 were set at 2008 levels — a difference of $20.8 million in spending, according to a recent city finance report.
The report, which was forwarded to the new mayor, said departments have identified the need for another $11.2 million “as being essential to sustaining the quality of city services” in the current fiscal year.