City Council Members in Birmingham, AL approved a $665,000 spending package in support of the 76th annual Magic City Classic football game between Alabama A&M University and Alabama State University. The amount mirrors the spending appropriation from last year’s game, but came with small challenges from some board members.
Council President Pro Tem Steven Hoyt and Councilor Lashunda Scales asked to see the breakdown on how the city funds would be spent before they voted on the allocation.
“You don’t derive a budget of $675,000 and don’t know what is needed to come up with that number,” Hoyt said.
Scales asked city staff what minority-owned businesses were contracted. She also questioned the city spending $9,056 on furniture rental from American Furniture.
While some members may have been unclear on the budget, they should be very clear on the how the investment pays off for the city. The classic, which annually draws more than 50,000 people to the city and generates more than $20 million in economic impact, is a lifeline for local small businesses.
Without the classic, Wilson Wren said his store “Refresh Clothing” would struggle. Wren stated, “This is the reason why we need the classic to keep going”
Which is why “dollars and sense” is more than an expression to this retailer. Reporter Patrick Thomas asked, “When you say this is why you need the classic what do you mean?” Wren replied, “This bit, this bit of money that I am going to make is gonna last me through the year. Make sure that my doors stay open. Because that is my revenue that I can continue my business with.”
The city’s investment also pays out $200,000 for both participating schools.