First Quarter 2018

Hello Everyone,

As you have seen and heard, your City Government has been hard at work looking for new opportunities to increase our funding to support infrastructure, our schools and quality of life in Madison. My apologies for not posting in a very busy December! I will catch up now.

Weekly Update from Mayor Finley for January 12 – 22, 2018

Good Friday Afternoon,

It has been a busy few weeks, a couple of which included some weather days.  Even so I am proud of all that we have accomplished…here are a few of the high lights;

  • Let’s start with what hits home for all of us.  The weather events had every opportunity to impact our paychecks.  Several employees took extra time to help get timecard data in but one employee, Westa Carlton, travelled in during the snow and ice to input information which led to us getting checks on time.  Thank you for the extra effort!!
  • Madison shared in the announcement of 4000 jobs when the new Toyota/Mazda auto manufacturing facility was announced in Limestone County two weeks ago.  It is expected that another 10,000 supporting jobs will eventually be added to support this massive facility.
  • Along those same lines our Public Works team worked many, many hours to ensure our roads were passable and our facilities clear.  Thanks to you guys for a job well done.
  • A new, high-end 274 unit apartment project has been approved for Town Madison.  The four-story project will be amenitized with a pool, indoor fitness and yoga, lounge and club areas.  Located in Town Madison’s planned urban core, near Zierdt Road, construction is anticipated to begin Spring 2018.
  • I attended the Madison State of the Schools presentation by Mr. Parker.  Among other facts he presented the need for a new elementary school ,middle  school, and additions to both high schools in the next 7-10 years.  Our Madison Schools Growth Impact Committee will now take this information and help define possible funding sources to support these requirements.
  • Revenue had a busy week with license renewals.  For this week, 554 licenses were issued resulting in revenue of $290,129.06.
  • Also, revenue reported that with the majority of sales taxes received for the month of January, 2018, it is estimated that general fund sales tax revenues will be up 7.75% over January, 2017 collections.
  • The Palmer Park expansion project is on schedule to be put out for bid in early February.   Our goal is to begin moving dirt on the site when spring sports at Palmer begin.
  • The contractor for the repairs to the Palmer concession buildings has begun and repairs to the existing fences should start soon after.  Painting of the restrooms and building is being completed by staff.  We hope to have all of the repairs and upgrades to existing facilities completed by the end of February.
  • Gayle Milam has scheduled a volunteer work day at Palmer Park for February 24, 2018.  Volunteers will assist with projects which Parks and Recreation Department does not have the man power to complete.  If you are interested in signing up please contact Gayle….
  • The City’s new state-of-the-art Library opened this Friday.  The new 25,000 square foot facility represents a 67% increase in size, with automation improvements that allow staffing levels to remain the same, improved functionality, and elements that allow for a variety of community activities such as movie nights on the back patio.   This was a great team effort supported by all City departments.
  • Our Madison Fire led a CPR class for city employees which had 26 attendees.  Thanks to everyone who attended and great job MFD team!

I wanted to end with a quick success story….saving a life.  We received a thank you note from a citizen that fell through an iced over pond on January 17th while trying to rescue her dog who had also fell through. In her own words “I felt the life slipping out of my body …my life did flash before my eyes.” “The longer I was in there the more I felt I would not make it. When one of you firemen entered the water with a vest I was in disbelief.”  She goes on for many more paragraphs thanking them for their efforts and giving her continued time with her children.  Our Madison Fire Department does special things for people each and every day…this one stood out because the life that was saved took the time to send a thank you note that reached my desk.

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend…..thank for all that you do for our city and citizens!

Sincerely,

Mayor Finley

Weekly Update from Mayor Finley for February 4 – 18, 2018

Good Rainy Friday afternoon,

Hope everyone has had a great week…even with the soggy weather.  A lot going on in these past two weeks, here are just some of the high lights;

  • The City of Madison entered into a 30 year agreement with Ballcorps, LLC. To bring a AA Minor League baseball team to Madison.  The team will be named via a community contest and we will now look to update our Town Madison Cooperative District agreement to support the infrastructure improvements that are needed.
  • Congratulations to Battalion Chief Steve Perry, he has started in the position of City Emergency Manager / Safety Officer and has moved to day staff.
  • Revenue has confirmed that our general fund sales tax for the month of January, 2018 was up by 11.03% over January, 2017 collections.
  • Two large trees were removed at the Kids Kingdom area in Dublin Park.  The dead trees presented a hazard to park users as they were dropping several large limbs.  Staff plans on replacing all trees removed in Dublin Park this spring.
  • A new water heater was installed at the Senior Center. The gas lines that service the water heater were brought up to code as well.
  • Work on the upgrades to the Palmer Park concession facilities continues.  These building improvements along with some fencing projects should be finished by the end of February.
  • While Huntsville was named the #1 city for tech hubs Madison was named the #1 city to live in in the community.  The link to the article can be found at https://www.trulia.com/blog/best-places-to-live-near-tech-companies/.
  • Our Madison City Schools were one of only two districts in the State of Alabama to receive “A’s” for every school in their district.  Overall Madison City Schools ranked 3rd in the State.
  • We held a ground breaking Wednesday for our new Home 2 Suites in Town Madison.
  • At our Council meeting last week we set up public meetings for Three Springs and the old Country Inn and Suites.  This allows both the community and the owners to come before council to explain what they are doing to upgrade/take care of their facilities.
  • Fire held a retirement party for Captain Steigerwalt and his family at station 1. Congratulations to Captain Steigerwalt on his retirement and his 30 years and 11 months of service.
  • We are excited about the launch of the new madisonal.gov website soon.  Many department leads spent Monday in training for the new platform and it appears that we are on track for launching the site on Monday, Feb. 26th!
  • Chief Jernigan partnered with Chief Bailey to read stories to pre-school children at Madison Library.  Sgt. Dees brought his police vehicle for the children to see.
  • Department Heads and staff are working on mid-year budgets.

Hope everyone enjoys a great three day weekend…..please be safe and good luck staying dry!

Sincerely,

Mayor Finley

Weekly Update from mayor Finley for February 25 – March 11, 2018

Team,

I know everyone at City Hall has been incredibly busy throughout the past two weeks…lots of activity going on.  Here are just a few of the high lights that we have accomplished;

  • Madison was recently named the #1 City to live in Alabama for 2018.  I hope each of you takes as much pride in that ranking as I do.  More information can be found at https://www.niche.com/places-to-live/search/best-places-to-live/s/alabama/.
  • Our new and improved city website is now fully operational. Thanks to Samantha Magnuson, Jason Colee, and each one of the departmental representatives for your countless number of hours spent in helping make this a reality.  If you haven’t had a chance to review it and/or sign up for status changes under Notify Me please go to madisonal.gov.
  • I had the opportunity to represent the City on the Chamber’s annual trip to Montgomery.  We met with multiple decision makers including Senator Arthur Orr, Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, Governor Ivey, Acting Superintendent of Schools Ed Richardson, and several others to push our local agenda, primarily asking for support for infrastructure and workforce development.
  • I also had the pleasure of representing the City at Limestone County’s Commission Chairman Mark Yarbrough’s State of the County address.  Part of our success in Madison will hinge on our ability to maximize relations (and funding) in Limestone County.
  • Over 50 volunteers came out for a work day at Palmer Park on February 24, 2018.  Volunteers cleaned, hung signage and other projects.
  • The design and bid documents are completed for the Palmer Park expansion project.  The project should go out for bid next week.  The pre-bid meeting is set for March 20, 2018 and bid opening for March 30, 2018.  Bid award is scheduled for the April 9, 2018 City Council meeting.  Considering how wet it has been so far, I do not anticipate actual work on the fields to begin until May/June timeframe once the bid is awarded.
  • The Transportation Master Plan Steering Committee completed its review of a recommended projects list.  The draft Plan document is being finalized and will then be available for a public review period, prior to being considered by the Planning Commission and City Council.
  • The Palmer Park expansion project bid documents are complete.  The bid opening is scheduled for March 30, 2018 and planned for award at the April 9, 2018 City Council meeting.
  • A representative from Arizona Building systems will be in Madison on March 12 and 13 to direct the installation of the Air Structure over the Dublin Park outdoor pool.
  • The upgrades to the Palmer Park concession buildings have been completed.   Contractors and staff are still in the process of making minor repairs to the fencing and other small improvement projects.
  • There are six teams registered for an adult volleyball league that Parks and Recreation is partnering with the Madison Volleyball association.  This is exciting as it is our first venture into true adult programs.
  • Good new bad news from Court this week and they collected over $30,000 in fines.  They managed approximately 215 transactions alone at the customer service windows for the week and no voids recorded.  The office is doing an outstanding job of their accuracy in their work.
  • Officer Joshua Collins and Officer Joshua Garlen received  “Honorable Mention Recipient” awards this week at the annual State of Alabama Legislature Medal of Honor Ceremony in Montgomery for their efforts last Fall.  Congratulations to both men for their service.
  • Our Madison Police Department, in conjunction with the FBI and other entities, hosted a community summit on opioids addiction at Bob Jones High School.  The event was a huge success with hundreds from the community attending and WAFF live streaming.
  • All departments have submitted their requests/changes for our mid-year budget.  Thank you to Roger Bellomy for his hard work collecting the data.

Thanks to each and every one of you for your hard work and dedication to our city.  Let’s have a great week!

Sincerely,

Mayor Finley

Weekly Update from Mayor Finley for March 11 – 24, 2018

Team,

I hope everyone had a great week.  I know a lot of you were coming off Spring Break last week and that made this week that much tougher.  Add to that the weather events and Friday couldn’t get here fast enough.  Here are a couple of the high lights;

  • Our City Council approved the funding agreement for Town Madison, clearing the way for a full Zierdt Road interchange in addition to key infrastructure pieces for the multi-use venue and baseball.  Thank to everyone who had a part in making this happen with special thanks to Megan Zingarelli, Mary Beth Broeren, and Roger Bellomy who put in countless hours.
  • Last night we conducted a joint City Council/School Board meeting to obtain the final report from the Madison Schools Growth Impact Committee.  This team of 14 spent months investigating what has made our Madison City Schools strong, what we as a city can expect from growth, and what paths we can/should take going forward.  The full report can be found on our website at http://www.madisonal.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=914.
  • With the majority of sales tax collections having been collected for the month of March, 2018, we are currently up 10.77% in total sales tax collections over the same month last year.
  • MPD hosted a “Meet and Greet” event for Attorney General Steve Marshall in which Public Safety Representatives from Huntsville Police Department, Madison County Sheriff Department, Madison Fire Department, Court, Legal, HEMSI, and assorted others attended.
  • This week’s weather event exposed the need for a church or business (with a basement) to step up to the plate and offer their facility as a Tornado Shelter for the citizens of Madison.  The city’s Emergency Manager Steve Perry will lead the charge to try and secure at least one facility.  If any of you know of a possibility please contact Steve and let him know.
  • I represented the City at speaking events (AAAA Senior Advisors, Keller Williams Awards, and the Hospitality Association) this week, updating them on our city and the excitement that we have going.
  • Marc continues to collect and prioritize our upcoming CIP list.  We should have solid list of projects ready to discuss at our next work session.
  • We are also working to formulate a plan to manage the growth needs at City Hall.  Marc, working with multiple departments, is getting close to bringing a plan forward that should support our continuing internal needs.
  • The mid-year budget has been reviewed by the Council Finance Committee and will be brought to the full council Monday night.  Thanks to all departments and especially Roger Bellomy for his focus on making this happen.
  • We will host an Industrial Area Plan Workshop next Tuesday the 27th at 6:00 at Rocket Republic.  More information can be found at http://www.madisonal.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=913.

Thanks to each of you for your focus on our citizens.  Hope you have a great weekend…stay dry!!

Sincerely,

Mayor Finley

Multi-Use Venue

Much has been written and shared with our citizens regarding our pursuit of a multi-use venue in Madison, specifically at Town Madison. This venue will offer Madison many opportunities to increase both our tax base and our quality of life. In addition to the opportunity of Minor League Baseball, this venue could hold both Bob Jones and James Clemens prom and sports banquets, company gatherings, musical events and many other opportunities. To view a feasibility study regarding market analysis on building a ball park venue in our area, click here Feasibility Study. To view Mayor Finley’s presentation detailing funding and the impact this will have on our City, click here Mayor Finley’s Presentation.

I would like to express my thanks to those of you who have sent me a text, email or spoken with me in person about your thoughts about pursuing this venture. I understand your frustration that this information may not have been shared completely or in a timely manner. This is because of the very nature of the confidentiality of this project. There are many moving parts and because of the scope of this project it has had to be done this way. The two most common concerns I’ve received are, “Why don’t we just give the school system $46,000,000 so they can build the schools we need?” Well, to put it simply we can’t. To justify securing a bond for any project we have to show a revenue stream. A school will not provide that. The second most common concern is, “The Stars failed. Why do you think another team will succeed?” Well, simply put, the Stars didn’t fail. They were in Huntsville for over 30 years and their out of town ownership failed them. Their stadium deteriorated and promotions ceased. Safeguards are being put in to place to insure that this will not happen in Madison.

This project will have a positive impact in spurring Town Madison on. This venue will be much more than a stadium. It will be a community gathering spot that will host a variety of different events. Our City has grown and will continue to grow at a rate that is difficult to support financially. Our School System is bursting at the seams and our infrastructure is in dire need of funds to make improvements. This venue will give the City of Madison a greater opportunity to support our schools, infrastructure and quality of life.

***Added 2/14. Please read Mayor Finley’s responses addressing comments and concerns. Mayor Finley’s Letter to Madison Residents .

Connect 2018

Mayor Finley hosted our annual State of the City Connect 2018 event on Friday, January 19th. During the event we had an opportunity to watch a fun video highlighting the spouses of your City Council. Click here to watch the video The First Housewives of Madison and Ron.
My thanks to the very talented Phil Schmidt with Fantastic Plastic for producing this video!

Madison’s School Growth Committee Report

The Madison’s School Growth Committee has completed an interim report. You can read it here. School Growth Committee Report

Superintendent Parker also shared the MCS 10 year vision plan. You can read more about that here. MCS 10 Year Plan

Three Springs/Sequal Update

At Monday night’s (2/12) Council meeting, we will be receiving Resolution No. 2018-45-R Setting a Public Hearing Regarding Business License of Sequel TSI Holdings, LLC (Three Springs Facility) from our Legal Department. This is not the Public Hearing but is the Resolution setting the Public Hearing. I will keep you all informed and will let you know the date of the Public Hearing as soon as it is set. I believe that will be following the Resolution. Thank you all for your patience in this matter.

In closing

I will be updating this post periodically during the quarter. As always, I can be reached at Email Maura or 256.337.2408. Thank you again for your continued support!