Merry Christmas!

It has been a very busy December for us!  As mentioned previously, we have appointed acting Directors in Police, Fire and City Attorney. The Fire Chief position has now been advertised for a couple of weeks and we have received over 30 applications. The Mayor’s Office will begin the vetting process after the first of the year and will bring us qualified candidates to interview. The Police Chief position should be advertised within the next couple of weeks and the same vetting process will occur. I am confident that the Mayor’s Office and City Council will bring forth the best possible candidate for all three positions.

Mayor Finley’s Weekly Update for December 4 – 11

Madison City Team,

Hope everyone is staying warm today.  As is always the case we had a busy week throughout the city.  Here are a few high lights:

  • I had the honor Tuesday of representing Madison at the Army Community Partnership Program Awards at the Pentagon in Washington DC.  Team Redstone was awarded one of only 5 national awards, each of which is given to communities who partnered with Army installations on mission capability improvements, cost savings, and/or infrastructure improvements.  The awards were given by Under Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy.
  • Our Revenue Department mailed out approximately 5,700 business license renewals on Thursday as we get ready for license renewal time during late December and January.  Collecting this revenue means about $2.8 million to our top line revenue numbers.
  • Multiple Departments worked with Taylor to obtain the return on investment information Council requested for the $30k appropriation to support the Dizzy Dean baseball tournament in July.  This information will be shared at the 12-12 council meeting by Councilman Seifert.
  • Taylor continued to hold meetings with land owners associated with the Downtown Development Phase 3 project.
  • Councilwoman Wroblewski and I met with Alex Riley of MadisonUp.  Alex continues to work on community improvement’s to the Wall Triana corridor between Gillespie and Eastview.  We came up with several next steps that we collectively will take to move some of the projects forward.
  • We held two meetings with our new council members (2 in each meeting) to bring them up to speed on the Town Madison project.  While it may sound quiet now a lot of very positive actions are taking place.  January 2017 should start  the announcements for the first businesses that will land at both the east and west portions of the development.
  • We continue to receive applications for our Fire Chief position. (25 total so far)
  • Our Police Department had an incredibly busy yet successful week.  Unfortunately Christmas season brings an increase in burglaries.  The detective team has made multiple arrests in support of our citizens and businesses in a very timely manner.
  • THANK YOU to all city personnel who have put in countless hours to make tomorrow night’s Christmas parade a success.  The parade starts at 5:30 and culminates in Historic Downtown.
  • Our Fire Department responded to a fire at Austin’s Furniture on Madison Blvd. Cause is under investigation but everything is a total loss.
  • Also, our Fire Department held a simulated Christmas tree burn yesterday.  Everything went very well with this and local media was present.  This is a very positive community service and much appreciated!
  • Multiple Police, Fire, and City personnel will join me tomorrow in participating in the “Shop with a Hero” event at the Madison Wal Mart.
  • HR is working diligently on our annual City Employee Luncheon next Wednesday.  I hope everyone has signed up to attend.

I know there are events/actions that I am missing but please know how much we (Mayor/Council) appreciate your actions.  My ratio of positive/negative comments this week was 7-1….I will take that every time.  Thanks to all of our employees for your efforts.

Have a great weekend.

Sincerely,

Mayor Finley

Weekly Update from Mayor Finley for December 12-19

Team,

Good Friday afternoon to you.  Here are some of the high lights from last week.

  • Our Christmas Parade was a huge success.  The over 120 entries had a safe and enjoyable trip through the heart of Madison.  Thanks to Gayle Milam and all of the city departments that supported this effort!
  • We also enjoyed a fantastic Employee Lunch Wednesday.  Thanks to Terri and her HR team (along with the Building and Fire set up/tear down teams) for their efforts.
  • We are excited to announce a  new Ace Hardware has been approved for the northeast corner of Hughes Rd. and Portal Ln.   The building is anticipated to open by Fall 2017
  • In addition to their normal week of road prep/repaving prep Public Works hauled approximately 95 tons of ADEM debris to Huntsville.  They didn’t say where they dumped it. J
  • Council approved Judge Tommy Parker’s reappointment this week as Presiding Municipal Judge.
  • Engineering finalized the requirements and sent out requests for bids for Hughes Road Overpass repair.
  • We now have over 30 applicants for our Fire Chief position.  We will look to continue to accept applications until the beginning of the new year.
  • HR is finalizing the Police Chief job description and will have it to Mayor/Council for review and approval by midweek.  Once approved we will post the job, hopefully by years end.
  • Councilwoman Wroblewski met with the MCDAB board earlier this week and was able to bring a list of requests to our attention.  Kory and the recreation team are already working to address these items with many accomplished in the next month.
  • Building finished reviewing Wendy’s restaurant plans for a new County Line road location which we hope will start construction soon.
  • Code Enforcement ran a “sweep” of the city looking for improperly situated signs.  They collected about 100.
  • We received an incredible positive letter from a citizen thanking Officer Ricardo McCants, Officer Tim Portik, Officer Heath Murphy, and Officer Bryce Taets for their work in managing what could have been a very ugly situation.  Thanks to all of you for your efforts in this positive outcome.
  • Taylor Edge has completed his “pool” research and he will be presenting his findings to the City Council and School Board personnel at Monday’s council meeting.

As I close I want to make sure I am clear on something.  Our City team is doing some fantastic things and have been for the past few years. Hard decisions Mayor and Council had to make years ago are now paying off.  HR, and the city team who supported them, have made dramatic improvements in our insurance costs, especially when compared with what others folks are incurring.  And starting next year the already approved COLA will kick in on our 2nd paycheck in 2017.  We (Mayor and Council) plan on doing everything we can to continue to invest in you, our employees with step and/or COLA’s as the budget allows!  Please keep on working hard for our citizens and looking for proactive ways to save/make money and to increase your subject matter knowledge in your respective areas.

We value each of you and thank you for all that you do!

Have a great weekend!

Your Mayor,

Paul Finley

Mayor Finley Update for December 16-31

Good Afternoon Madison Team,

Wow….2016 is almost in the books.  Time sure flies when you are busy and having fun!

Our week between Christmas and New Year’s still had plenty going on.  Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • A very “low-light” was the senseless murder that happened Monday at Sonic, Madison’s first of the year.  The highlight was our incredible Madison Police Department team which from first call through press conference worked together to quickly (within 12 hours) apprehend the suspects.  Twice during my call to the victim’s mother she complimented their actions, thanking them for helping her family bring closure to one part of their nightmare.
  • We installed a new flag light at the entrance to the City of Madison sign on Hughes Road to illuminate the American Flag 24/7. The electrician also replaced the 4 sign lights to match because of electrical issues the current lights had. They were arcing and had insufficient grounds to possibly cause tripping of breakers.  We are now legal and brighter!!
  • We continued our neighborhood paving project with Public Works paving Cedar Acres Drive.
  • Through Thursday of this week Revenue renewed 195 licenses were resulting in approximately $47,000.00 of Revenue.
  • Finance met with representation from Cabinet Archival Software – setup is approaching completion and they will start uploading archive files to archive web-site.
  • Via a request from the Finance Committee Finance will bring three updated/new policies (Travel & Training, Cell Phone, and Purchasing/Credit Card) to Council for approval at the January 9, 2017 meeting.
  • IT completed the New World System upgrade Tuesday with strong success.  Thanks to Jason and his team for working with departments to minimize the inconvenience.
  • Our Police Officers distributed Secret Santa gift cards on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, which were donated by an anonymous Madison resident.
  • I started my Department Head meetings this week, meeting with Fire, Public Works, IT, Recreation, Engineering, Revenue, and Legal.
  • I enjoyed a very positive meeting with John Olshefski of Huntsville Utilities.  Multiple areas including water, fiber, smart meters, and franchise fees were discussed with more detailed follow up meetings scheduled for next year.
  • Taylor continued working on our Downtown Phase 3 project.  Along with Councilman Powell and others he is working to secure the needed right-of-way and making some substantial progress.
  • We received good news from Fresh Market.  Their Madison store on Highway 72 is “back on track” and should be up in going sometime in 2017.

As I close for the week (and year) I wish each and every one of you a very Happy New Year.  2017 promises to be one of the best and busiest Madison has seen….looking forward to supporting our community with you!

War Eagle, Roll Tide, and Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

Mayor Paul Finley

Revenue

Our Revenue office has mailed out approximately 5,700 business license renewals for 2017. Collecting this revenue means about $2.8 million to our top line revenue numbers. This is an excellent reminder for all of us to Shop Madison First. Every dollar spent in Huntsville is about .10 in sales tax dollars lost to improve our roads and fund our schools here at home in Madison.

Speaking of Shop Madison First (and you will hear that phrase quite a bit in my blog) we have received our Department and Board Assignments and I am pleased to say that I will be working with the Madison Chamber of Commerce. I attended an Orientation meeting today and am looking forward to working with the Chamber as we bring more businesses to Madison and to better serve those businesses we currently have.

As for other Council assignments I am the City Council liaison to the Fire and Police Departments. In addition to the Madison Chamber I am the liaison to MCDAB (Madison City Disability Advocacy Board) and MARF (Madison Animal Rescue Foundation). I am a member of the Human Resources Committee. I look forward to serving all of these organizations. For a complete list of Council assignments click here: 2017 Council Assignments

Also, as mentioned previously, I have been working with Alex Riley with Madison Up in exploring the opportunity of a playground and enrichment center at the corner of Gillespie and Wall Triana. This property is privately owned. Madison Up is researching pursuing this project. Mayor Finley and I met with both Alex and Ms. Tracy Slaughter last week in a productive meeting where we learned more about this project. For right now the City is not able to pursue this as we do not own the land. One of my specific goals during my term for this area is to have a multi use path from the corner of Wall Triana and Gillespie all the way to Browns Ferry and Wall Triana. I believe this goal will be a benefit to all of those in Madison.

Our Fire Department (MFD) has been very busy this month. They responded to a fire that is currently under investigation at Austin Furniture on Highway 20/Madison Blvd. The building is a total loss. They also responded to a fire on Rainbow Mountain that caused no property loss or injury. In the subdivision that I represent, Walden, they responded to a new garage extension that caught fire due to an electric issue. They were able to put it out very quickly with little damage (mainly smoke damage) to the home. The residents were able to get their car out of the garage and the fire was contained. I am very grateful to MFD and how quickly and professionally they responded. Our First Responders are the very best in my opinion. Please let these situations remind us all that we are still in a drought condition and there is to be no outside burning.Please do not use the lighted luminaries in paper bags with the small votive candles this Christmas season. It is just too dry and dangerous.

The new Council members each had a meeting concerning the progress of Town Madison. While it may seem quiet I assure you the project is moving forward and positive actions are taking place. January/February should start the announcements for the first businesses that will be at both the east and west portions of the development. I am very excited about this as it will be a huge boost for Madison retail for many years to come!

At the December 19th City Council meeting Taylor Edge, City Administrator, brought three proposals for the Aquatic Center. They are:

A. We would add a seasonal cover/dome/bubble over the pool. This would increase pool space by double year round from what we currently have. The cost is ~420K. Pros: least expensive and can be done fairly quickly. Cons: Could be considered a “band aid” or just a temporary solution as it would not increase the competitive swim ability. It is a shallow pool so no diving from starting blocks.

B. We would build a second, connected 4 to 5 lane pool (depending on space) to connect with the current pool at Dublin. We would also add shower/locker room facilities. Pros: Between MCS BOE we have the funding. This would increase the lanes and provides other facilities. Con: Space could be an issue. There would be additional expenses for maintenance.

C. A brand new Aquatic Center near the Central Office and stadium on Celtic Drive. Pros: Would completely solve all issues of practice space, competitive swimming. Con: At ~$10.5 million this is above our current financial status.

You can read WHNT’s Kristen Connor’s excellent synopsis of the three plans here: WHNT Article

The other Council members, Mayor Finley and his wife Dr. Julie Finley, and I greatly enjoyed the Madison Christmas Parade. We had over 120 floats participate this year and that was a new record. My many thanks to Mrs. Gayle Milam, who works with the Recreation Department. She is everyone’s favorite elf for coordinating this massive undertaking. It went off without a hitch and everyone enjoyed hot chocolate at the gazebo afterwards.

We are happy to announce that Ace Hardware will be building a new store at the northeast corner of Mill/Portal and Hughes Road. It should be open in the fall of 2017. The movie theater is still on track for an early summer opening and the new business near CVS will be a physician’s office. We welcome all three to the city of Madison!

Whew! It’s been a busy end of the year and I look forward to serving you next year! Again, from my family to yours, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Happy New Year!