Incorporation of Birmingham

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The Incorporation of Birmingham was enacted by the Alabama General Assembly on December 19, 1871. The act called for the Governor of Alabama to appoint a mayor and eight alderman to govern the new city. So empowered, Governor Robert Lindsay duly appointed Robert Henley to serve as Mayor, with James B. Francis, Benjamin F. Roden, W. F. McDonald, A. Marre, J. B. Webb, John A. Milner, and T. S. Wood serving on the Board of Aldermen.

Since the 1921 Semicentennial of Birmingham, the date of December 19 has been observed as Birmingham Day in honor of this event.

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No. 231. AN ACT
To incorporate the city of Birmingham in Jefferson county.
Section 1: Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Alabama, That the city of Birmingham, in the county of Jefferson, be and the same is hereby incorporated and all the territory within three thousand feet of the Alabama & Chattanooga Railroad, on each side of the same, extending from twenty-sixth street in said city to the eastern boundary of the city of Elyton, is hereby declared to be within the limits of said corporation.
Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, That the Governor of Alabama be and he is hereby authorized and empowered to appoint a mayor and eight aldermen for the government of said city, who shall hold their offices until the next general election of officers, and until their successors are elected and qualified.
Sec. 3. Be it further enacted, That on the first Monday in January, eighteen hundred and seventy three, and on the first Monday in January of every second succeeding year thereafter, there shall be an election held at some public place in said city for a mayor and eight aldermen for said city, who shall hold their offices until their successors are elected and qualified; and at said election all the resident voters within the limits of said corporation shall be entitled to vote at such election who have resided in said city thirty days previous.
Sec. 4. Be it further enacted. That the election directed to be held by the preceding section shall be held by two freeholders or householders to be appointed by the mayor of said city, who shall conduct said election in same manner as other general elections in said State, and make return to the mayor or aldermen, or either one, who shall give a certificate of election to those having the highest number of votes.
Sec. 5. Be it further enacted. That it shall be the duty the mayor, when present, to preside at all meetings of the board to preserve order, to enforce the laws of the corporation; but a majority of the board shall be competent to transact business, and the said board is hereby declared to be a body politic and corporate by the name of the mayor and aldermen of Birmingham, and by that name shall have and enjoy all the rights, powers and privileges, and be subject to all the liabilities that are incident to bodies corporate.
Sec. 6. Be it further enacted, That the said board shall have full and complete power to make all by-laws and ordinances of whatever kind and upon whatever subject to them may seem right and proper for the good government of said city; to levy and collect taxes to defray the expenses of the corporation, not to exceed in the aggregate one half (1/2) of one per cent. upon the assessed value of the property as assessed hereafter in each and every year by the State assessor, to affix such fines, not exceeding twenty dollars, and imprisonment in the county jail, upon the payment of the fees to the jailor of said county for feeding such prisoner or prisoners at the prices prescribed by law for feeding State prisoners, not exceeding ten days for any one transgression, as may by them be deemed necessary to enforce a due observance of the laws and ordinances of said corporation not repugnant to the laws of this State.
Sec. 7. Be it further enacted, That the mayor of said corporation shall be ex officio justice of the peace for all purposes, and for the enforcement of the laws, may exercise all the powers, and shall be subject to the same duties and liabilities of justices of the peace of Jefferson county, and shall be entitled to receive for all such official services the fees now allowed by law to justices of the peace, and for all services as mayor of said city, he, the said mayor, shall be allowed such salary or compensation as shall be allowed him by the board of aldermen.
Sec. 8. Be it further enacted, That said board have power to supply all vacancies happening in their body, between the regular election or elections, to appoint a treasurer, a marshal, and such other officers they may require or deem proper, and to affix such fees and regulations to such officers as they may deem necessary and proper.
Sec. 9. Be it further enacted. That the mayor or any alderman shall have full power to punish violations all of the laws and ordinances of said corporation, and the offender or offenders shall be proceeded against in such manner as may be prescribed in the ordinances by execution against personal property.
Sec. 10. Be it further enacted, That the mayor and each of the aldermen shall, before entering on the discharge of their duties, take an oath to faithfully and impartially, without fear, favor or affection to discharge the same, which oath, together with the oath of office prescribed by the constitution, shall be administered by the judge of probate of said county, by the mayor or any one of the aldermen of said city, and filed in the office of judge of probate of said county.
Sec. 11. Be it further enacted, That the mayor and aldermen of said city be and they are hereby empowered and fully authorized to regulate and prescribe the terms upon which any billiard table or table of like kind or description, or ten-pin alley, whether a greater or less number of pins are used, or any substitute therefor, in playing thereon, may be kept within the limits of said city, and the sale of spirituous or intoxicating liquors, beer, porter or ale in less quantities than one quart in said corporation, that they may grant a license to any person or persons desiring to keep such a table or alley, or sell such liquors, beer, porter or ale on such terms and require such sums to be paid therefor as they may think proper.
Sec. 12. Be it further enacted. That the mayor and aldermen of said city be and they are hereby fully authorized and empowered to regulate and prescribe the terms upon which any license may be granted as contained in the ordinances passed by said board.
Sec. 13. Be it further enacted. That if any person or persons shall keep or cause to be kept any such table or alley within the corporate limits of said city, or sell such liquors, beer, porter or ale, or violate any ordinance or ordinances, requiring a license without first obtaining a license therefor, and shall be thereof convicted before said mayor, or any member of said board, he or they may be fined in any sum not to exceed twenty dollars for each and every day, or part of a day, such violations of the ordinance or ordinances are persisted in, and the table or alley, or liquors, or such other articles used in violation of the ordinance or ordinances of said city, together with all the implements used, may be seized by the marshal and sold to the highest bidder on giving ten days notice by advertisement, or posters in three public places in said city, to pay said fine and all costs which may have accrued thereon, whether such articles belong to the person or persons so keeping it or them or not.
Sec. 14. Be it further enacted, That if any person or persons, having been convicted as aforesaid, shall fail to pay such fine as may be assessed against him or them, he or they may be imprisoned by order of the mayor, or any member of the board as aforesaid, before whom he or they may be tried, in the county jail of said county for any length of time not exceeding ten days for any one offense, and it is hereby made the duty of the jailor or sheriff of said county to receive into his custody all persons who may be ordered to be imprisoned either under this act or any other act now in force in said city, charging the usual fees, to be paid as prescribed by the sixth section of this act, out of any monies in the treasury of the city not otherwise appropriated.
Sec. 15. Be it further enacted, That this act shall take effect from and after its passage.
Sec. 16. Be it further enacted, That said mayor and aldermen shall have authority to require each inhabitant of said city between the ages of and forty-five, to work five days in each and every on the streets and avenues of said city, under the direction of such an officer as may be appointed by mayor and aldermen for that purpose; Provided, any person so required to work on said streets and avenues may relieve himself of the same by paying the sum five dollars per annum to the treasurer of said city, taking his receipt therefor; Provided further, that the inhabitants of said city are exempt from working on and public highways out of the corporate limits.
Approved December 19, 1871

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