Hoover City Council
Hoover Mayor Gary presents a check for $345,881 to the Hoover school system during a Hoover City Council meeting on Monday, Sept. 21, 2015. Receiving the check were Hoover schools Superintendent Kathy Murphy and school board members Derrick Murphy, Earl Cooper and Craig Kelley.
Hoover Mayor Gary Ivey tonight presented the Hoover school system a check for nearly $346,000 – money the city received from a lawsuit settlement with BP Corp. over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The city actually received $408,095 from BP, but $61,214 was used to cover attorney fees and expenses, according to a settlement statement provided by the city.
BP set aside $1 billion for municipalities out of an $18.7 billion settlement agreement with the U.S. government and five states affected by the oil spill.
Hoover attorney Charlie Waldrep said more than 400 cities took part in the settlement, with each city’s allocation determined by a formula established by a three-person panel appointed by a federal judge in New Orleans.
Birmingham’s portion was about $ 1 million, while Jefferson County received about $500,000, Waldrep said.
Ivey said city officials decided to give the money to the Hoover school system because the city had not budgeted to receive it and the school system is having some budget problems.
“This was kind of a windfall for us,” Ivey said.
The Hoover school board just last week passed a 2016 budget with expenditures exceeding revenues by $10.4 million – the latest in a string of budget deficits.
Even though $346,000 is a small portion of the school system’s budget woes, “every nickel counts when you’re talking about education,” school board President Derrick Murphy said. “Any time our city leaders and mayor give money from the city, thinking about the school system, it’s a wonderful thing.”
Hoover schools Superintendent Kathy Murphy, who began as superintendent in June, said she felt very uncomfortable presenting a $10.4 million budget deficit to the school board for approval and will be working diligently to find ways to cut expenses and increase revenues.
“We very clearly understand you can’t continue to dig into your reserves over an extended period of time,” Murphy said. “You just can’t run a $10 million deficit for almost every year over 10 years without a huge impact.”
Murphy said she met with all of the school system’s top central office staff today and challenged them to come up with ideas to cut costs and increase revenues and looks forward to hearing their thoughts and ideas.
Grants are a potential source of new revenue, but grants typically are for the short term, Murphy said. The school system needs ideas to help stabilize the budget for the long term, she said.
“It’s not going to be a quick fix,” she said.
In other business tonight, the Hoover City Council:
- Continued the city’s 2015 budget until a 2016 budget can be approved. The 2016 fiscal year begins Oct. 1. Ivey said on Thursday he was still putting the finishing touches on the 2016 budget and hoped to have it to the City Council for review this week.
- Agreed to spend $212,561 to build 3,200 feet of sidewalks on Lester Lane and Cloudland Drive in Bluff Park. The low bidder for the project, Safford Building Co. Construction, is expected to start soon and should take about 90 days, said Tim Westhoven, assistant executive director for the city.
- Approved an agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation for a 1-mile sidewalk project along Ross Bridge Parkway from Deer Trail to Deer Valley Elementary School. That project likely won’t be done until the end of next year, Westhoven said.
- Appointed Steve Townsend as a new member of the Hoover Parks and Recreation Board and reappointed Howard Payton and Randy Lott to the park board. Townsend is filling a spot being vacated by Bill Sanford, whose term expires at the end of this month.
- Declared properties at 2244 Pine Lane, 2057 Crosscrest Drive and 512 Oakline Drive as public nuisances due to overgrown weeds and/or grass.
- Joined the mayor in recognizing the Hoover Service Club for its many contributions to the community.