JOSEPH D. BRYANT
The Birmingham City Council agreed Tuesday to waive a fee for developers of the new Drug Enforcement Agency building downtown.
The developers of the combined office building for the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives asked the city to waive its $29,000 fee for vacating a 2,200-square-foot portion of 10th Avenue and Ninth Court North.
The land was required to meet security specifications for the new building.
Building developers were joined by Michael Calvert,president of Operation NewBirmingham, who said the request would help the effort to bring the three-story, 38,400-square-foot building to downtown Birmingham.
The cost of the vacated land was unanticipated and was not budgeted, they said.
However, some council members questioned the waiver.
"I am not inclined to waive $29,000 for any special entity to come into the city of Birmingham unless we do it for everyone," said Councilman Joel Montgomery.
Bill Gilchrist, the city's director of planning, engineering and permits, said it is common to waive fees for nonprofit groups and government agencies.
A motion to waive the fee passed with Montgomery casting the lone no vote.
Go Joel Montgomery Go!!