First Quarter 2021

Happy New Year everyone! Here’s hoping and praying that 2021 will be a wonderful and HEALTHY year for all of us! As always and even during this time of COVID 19 our City Council meetings will be viewable via our City YouTube channel (Madisonyoutube), WOW! Channel 42 and at this time via ZOOM (zoommadisonal.gov/).

Huntsville Business Journal

The Huntsville Business Journal is a local, informative free publication regarding the business climate in the Tennessee Valley. Here’s a very interesting recent article. Huntsvillebusinessjournal. You can subscribe to this publication and receive an email for the latest edition.

Managing Growth

City Council is frequently asked how are we managing growth? Here is a very good resource that gives a progress review on how we manage growth: Managing-Growth.

Transparency

In addition to this website, I also have a Facebook page: MauraforDistrict1. I have always believed in transparency and will answer any questions that District 1 residents have to the best of my ability. We also have a page on our Madison website that addresses these concerns: Transparency-101.

Mayor Finley Updates

January 1 to 10

Team,

I am very thankful to move into 2021 together, working hard for our citizens and community. I am very proud of the overall “product” the City of Madison provided in 2020, meeting this Pandemic head on. Thank you to each and every one of you for your efforts!

We have several items to share this week….her are just a few of the high lights;

·        Revenue reports total sales tax collections for the month of December, 2020 are up 3.29% over collections for the month of December, 2019 and year to date collections are up 15.81% over the same period last fiscal year. 

·        Public Works reports that the new extension of the Mill Creek Greenway is “complete and open.” There will be a few maintenance items that will be addressed this coming spring as the area dries up. Great job PW team!

·        Building numbers for the week; the permitting division created 81 permits and issued 88, the inspection division performed 133 inspections, and Code enforcement created 11 new cases and picked up 16 signs in the right of ways.

·        The Madison Baseball Association won the Dizzy Dean State Tournament bids for age groups 5-12.  The tournaments are scheduled to take place June 18-30, 2021 at Palmer Park.  Recreation is in the process of working with local hotels to keep as many teams as possible in Madison.

·        Due to COVID 19 issues causing a lack of lifeguards, staff had to close the pools in Dublin Park this week.  We have sent those exposed for testing.  If testing results come back negative, we plan on opening the pools on the normal schedule next week.  If not we will continue to have reduced hours.

·        The Dublin Park gym floor was stripped down to the wood and refinished.  This process took longer than planned due to the heat not functioning in the gym.

·        City Council Zoom – After learning some tough lessons in Zoom during the last council meeting, we have continued to make changes and improvements to the setup.  In addition, we had zoom meetings with staff at the City of Auburn and Tuscaloosa.  The both provided valuable ideas and pointers on what worked and what did not for their Cities.  We will be ready for a much better attempt on Monday, Jan. 11.

·        Court reports that there were 65 Cases Opened, 73 Cases Closed, and 10 Warrants Issued last week.

·        Madison Fire and Rescue conducted 40 Annual Fire Safety Inspections and 16 new Construction Inspections this week

·        Public Works continues to make great progress on the Lime Quarry widening and round-about projects.

·        City Officials had an informative and productive meeting with Ballcorps and Ralph Nelson. Ralph is scheduled to present to Council at the January 28th meeting, documenting the 2020 season and payments to the city and then discussing the upcoming 2021 season.

·        The Homeplace Park project has officially started and should be done by Summer’s end.

·        Steve Smith has officially started as City Administrator in the Mayor’s Office. Steve replace Marc Jacobson, another former City Councilman, and he will support me in managing day-today activities and larger projects.

As I close I would like to share an email that was sent from one of our employees to our Madison Fire and Rescue team…..I don’t think he will mind.

Good morning Chief Bailey,

     As you know, we had a large brush fire in the Stillwater Cove Subdivision yesterday that caused some property damage and threatened several houses.  This was my first time in 9 years as a resident to personally witness your team at work, and I am extremely impressed and proud.  Madison Fire and Rescue showed up quickly, in the range of 5-10 minutes from the call to 911.  They were well trained, well equipped, and truly concerned with the safety of every resident and property affected.  They quickly handled the fires in each yard, answered questions from residents, and then immediately got to work determining the cause of the fire.

     This e-mail isn’t just to praise the team yesterday, but to also praise the work that you all do to educate our residents and students.  Madison Fire and Rescue’s work in our schools became evident to me as two children next door, ages 8 and 6, followed all of the things that they learned “when the fire truck came to our school”.  They told an adult, they got out of the house, they ran to neighbor’s houses to warn people of the danger, and they remembered everything that they were taught about calling 911.  This is a testament to your dedication to make our residents, even the smallest residents, prepared in the event of an emergency. 

    Our mission statement is “to provide excellent services through responsible use of public resources, enhancing the quality of life for our community”.  As an employee, I was proud to see this embodied in the excellent work of our fire department yesterday.  As a resident, I’m proud and relieved that we enjoy an incredibly high standard of service and safety from those who protect, serve, educate, and live up to that mission statement each day.

Hope you have a great week…..thanks again for all that you do!

Respectively,

Mayor Finley

January 10 to 24

Happy Sunday!

Lots going on during the last two weeks…..here are some of the high lights;

·        Our community received fantastic news as Redstone Arsenal learned they were chosen for US Space Command’s headquarters, possibly bringing up to 1500 jobs to the area. While we still have a ways to go to solidify all of the process our Madison community can be very proud to be a part of this Tennessee Valley team to have been chosen

·        Lost in the same news cycle was more positive news for Huntsville.  Boeing’s Huntsville-based Missile and Weapon Systems division has been awarded contracts in the past year totaling $974 million to develop a next-generation technology for the U.S. Army’s Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile system.

·        Court reports that during the past two weeks they have opened 57 cases, closed 174, and opened 77 warrants.

·        Madison Fire and Rescue reports they conducted 103 annual fire inspections during the two weeks bringing their total to 748 for the fiscal year.

·        IT was very busy during the two weeks opening 91 new work orders, closing 87, and their backlog of open orders is down to 21. In addition the entire IT team has been working on system wide server and software upgrades throughout our network.

·        The Senior Center hosted Car Bingo in the lower parking lot of Dublin Park on Thursday, January 14, 2021.  Nine seniors participated.

·        MPD reports they had 1863 calls for service during the two weeks.

·        Police Chief Dave Jernigan’s last day with MPD was the 15th. We thank him for his service to our city and we wish him nothing but success in retirement.

·        We are excited to announce two promotions in MPD, Sgt. Jamar Miles was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned to Patrol A Night Shift  while Det. Marcus Adams was promoted to Sergeant and assigned to Investigations. Congratulations!

·        Public Works stayed busy supporting our changing weather conditions, repairing our road shoulders, supporting the curb sweeping crew with debris pick up, servicing city equipment and vehicles, and multiple other core activities.

·        Council held a Zoom work session last Wednesday with presentations made on Key Development Areas, Communication and our city website, and initial outlines of what a Citizen Advisory Committee might look like. With Covid numbers finally coming way down we will move back to in-person Council meetings Monday night with Covid protocol and normal communication channels back in place. I will be asking Council for their approval to start the process of adding the recordings of our city council meetings on our media platforms….more to follow.

·        Our City team met and discussed our new middle school infrastructure projects, laying out our timeline and game plan for being ready for the 2022 school year.

·        I enjoyed supporting Leadership in speaking via Zoom  to the Leadership Management Academy, discussing many of the aspects of managing during Covid.

As I close I am always amazed and inspired each time that I hear one of our employees has shined for our city. Last week one of the Fire shift supervisors shared a message he received from a HEMSI paramedic after we responded to a full arrest situation.  Paramedic from HEMSI texted this after the call :  “We didn’t do anything.  Your guys did all of that.  I can’t take credit for anything other than a little bit of delegation, calling in the report, and doing the EPCR.  Your guys rocked it!!!  Please tell all of them that regardless of the outcome, they did AMAZING!!!!”

It reminds me that we can only control what we can control….but when we can control it we can (and often we do) SHINE!

Take care and have a fantastic week.

Proud to be your Mayor,

Mayor Finley

January 25 to February 7

Happy Super Bowl  Sunday! As always we have had a busy yet productive couple of weeks.

Here are just a few of the high lights.

·         Recreation reports that our fields have been closed at Palmer and Dublin Park in January through mid-February to allow for preparation for the upcoming spring and summer seasons. As our citizens continue to tell me, our fields are in the best shape they have ever been!

  • Recreation also reported that Adult Spring Softball registration opens February 8, 2021 and Adult Spring Volleyball registration opens February 15, 2021.
  • The CEO of the Trash Pandas reported that although they didn’t play one Trash Panda game last year they, working with our City of Madison team, created almost $700,000 dollars of revenue for the City in 2020, mostly from “non-baseball” events. Kudos to them for their efforts….can you imagine what this year will bring with a full baseball season and the I-565 Interchange ramps open?
  • Public Works started to add the gravel base for the Oakland Springs greenway parking lot out in Limestone County.
  • Acting Chief John Stringer conducted the pinning ceremony for Officer Beiring, Officer Bullington and Officer Williams at the January 25th City Council Meeting  

·         Madison Police conducted 2076 calls for service during the past two weeks

·         Court reports that they opened 97 cases, closed 129 cases, and issued 76 new warrants during the two weeks.

·         Many of us listened to Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong’s virtual “State of Madison County” address, which spotlighted Madison, our Trash Pandas, and the incredible job growth throughout the county. Chairman Strong pointed out there are over $350,000,000 million dollars of road projects currently underway or approved in Madison County.

·         Legal, working with the Mayor’s office and our City Council Finance Committee, solicited RFP’s for a Financial Advisor Firm to support us as we look to the future for some of the larger financial decisions we will need to make. Proposals are in and we will be reviewing them and hopefully selecting someone in the upcoming weeks.

·         I attended a meeting the Huntsville Chamber led with the current FBI Management Team that is responsible for the transition of personnel to the Redstone Arsenal complex. I continue to be amazed at the size and complexity of the operation that will be housed at Redstone, starting with 1500-2000 employees and growing each year from there.

·         The “Big 10” Mayor’s conducted two calls in preparation for the upcoming Alabama Legislative session. “The Covid” will significant limit their in-person interactions but we have defined our “asks” and will continue to work through the available channels to push for the legislation that improves and enhances our communities.

·         We continue to prepare for the infrastructure and roads that will be needed for our new Middle School on Celtic Drive. All facets, including drainage, Garner and Shorter street extensions, and added turn lanes at Will Halsey/Hughes and Madison Blvd/Sullivan are planned and will be bid in the upcoming months.

·         Our Madison Fire and Rescue reported 164 response incidents during the two weeks, with 119 EMS related calls and 45 fire or other responses. While sadly one of those included a fatality that same fire included a rescue of one of the occupants. Listening to the details of the rescue and the bravery of our team I was reminded of how much training and preparation is conducted each day by our firefighters to be ready for situations like they faced. I am so proud of their efforts and their continued commitment to keep our city safe.

·         Lastly, Revenue reports that total sales tax collections for the month of January, 2021 are up 20.87% over collections for the month of January, 2020 and year to date collections are up 17.21% over the same period last fiscal year. Economic Development continues to be alive and well throughout our Key Development Areas along with the remainder of the city!

I am so proud to be the Mayor of the best city in Alabama. Let’s have another fantastic week and as always, thank you for your continued efforts to support our citizens and our community!

Respectively,

Mayor Finley  

February 7 to 21

Team,

I know many of you are happy to have last week’s weather behind us and are just as happy to know that this upcoming week will bring us temperatures that rise into the 60’s. Even with a couple of snow days we still accomplished a great deal…here are just a few of the items of note.

·      A huge shout out to our Public Works team, in conjunction with MPD, MFR, and Commissioner Haraway, for their countless hours and sleepless nights plowing and salting our roads. We were prepared, focused, and successful working a plan that helped us manage through up to seven inches of snow and lots of ice throughout Madison. We received countless emails from citizens impressed with our team….THANK YOU!

·      Also want to thank our Building Department team for their support at City Hall and our Library concerning boilers and heating concerns.

·      Building reports that during the two weeks they created 111 permits, issued 132, and conducted 209 inspections.

·      Madison Fire and Rescue reported 216 incidents during the two weeks, 160 of which were EMS related.

·      Inv. Thiele of our MPD conducted a statewide webinar with over 425 attendees for Children’s Aid Society of Alabama, focusing on resources for foster/ adoptive families, DHR, Juvenile Probations, and other Social Services agencies across the State of Alabama. He has been requested to provide an additional webinar later this year by the National Children’s Advocacy Center

·      Madison Police report that conducted 2085 calls for service during the two weeks. Again, we had several emails from citizens thanking them for their multiple areas of support during the weather events.

·      Court reports that they opened 108 cases, closed 108 cases, and issued 13 warrants.

·      The bid for the first part of the new Middle School infrastructure project (Garner Street drainage) was opened with very positive pricing and it will be approved at Monday’s council meeting.

·      Several steps in the Balch/Gillespie round about project were completed and the bid documents have been prepared and posted. This project will start in a month or so with an expected completion date of August.

·      Unfortunately a water pipe burst due to the cold weather in the ceiling in the bath house of the outdoor pool in Dublin Park. Staff is in the process of repairing the pipe and water damage.  We anticipate the repairs to the building beginning next week and will keep everyone updated on the progress.

·      We conducted multiple interviews of perspective Financial Advisor consultants this week. While Finance continues to do a fantastic job we want to add “outside eyes and expertise” as we prepare for some large and complex upcoming opportunities.

·      Many of us listened to the Community State of the Schools meeting and were proud and excited to hear Superintendent Nichols discuss the present and future of our Madison City Schools.

·      All Departments are currently working on mid-year budgets and possible adjustments.

·      At the 2-8 council meeting Council approved multiple communication improvements that will continue to improve and bolster our citizens ability to engage with City Government.

Thanks to each and every one of you for your continued focus on our citizens and community. Let’s have a great week!

Respectively,

Mayor Finley

February 22 to March 7

Team,

While the weather has gone from rainy to cold to warm to sunshine during our last two weeks we continue to accomplish a great deal.

Here are a few of the high lights from the past two weeks;

·        I wanted to start with four separate “thank you’ s” from our residents which included;

o   Building received “You all are the fastest, friendliest government office that I have dealt with in forever.  Thank you!!”

o   Public Works received “as I exited the subdivision my mind was completely blown away!  I immediately saw that brand new shiny white lane markers had been installed.  As I continued to walk, I began to realize how efficient your staff had been in its response.  I want to personally thank you and the members of your staff responsible for replacing the lane markers”

o   Engineering received “You just send street sweepers down my street…..Amazing.”

o   Recreation received “thank you for the new soccer posts in Mill Creek Park.  My kids enjoy going to that park and now have a new way to enjoy the space.”

·        We currently have almost 50 applications for our Police Chief opening. HR is in-process now of working through the list, hopefully narrowing it down to a top 10 or 12 to go through the first round of interviews in early April. Our goal is to bring Council a top 3-5 for public interviews in the Mid May time frame.

·        Revenue reports that total sales tax collections for the month of February, 2021 are up 14.69% over collections for the month of February, 2020 and year to date collections are up 16.76% over the same period last fiscal year. 

·        Our Madison Fire and Rescue conducted 169 Annual Business Fire Inspections during the two weeks bringing the Fiscal YTD total to 1122 and they conducted 39 New Home Construction inspections brining the fiscal YTD total to 289.  

·        MFR also reported 173 Incident responses during the two weeks of which 119 were EMS related.

·        Public Works removed the traffic island at Madison Blvd/Production Ave and replaced it with a paved turning lane.

·        Public Works is still actively making progress at the Lime Quarry Road round-about.

·        The Madison Police Citizen Advisory Committee Ordinance was unanimously approved by City Council and we are now accepting applications from our citizens. The Committee will be comprised of 9 members. Applications can be submitted via our website at www.madisonal.gov.

·        MPD was also approved by Council to purchase a Firearms Training Simulator, partially made possible by the $25,000 donation from the Madison Police Foundation.

·        Court reports that they opened 112 cases, closed 168, and issued 67 warrants during the two weeks.

·        Recreation reports that the restroom trailers for the Palmer Park Extension and Bradford Creek Trailhead have arrived.  The utility hookups for each location still need to be set which will be done in the coming weeks.

·        Rec staff has ordered dog waste stations, trash cans, and benches for the newly opened extension to the Mill Creek Greenway.

·        I had the opportunity to speak to 15 students that are a part of the Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO) group here in Madison. Their business ideas were well thought out and there is no question this group is well on their way to success.

Thanks to each and every one of you for your continued efforts to improve Quality of Life for our citizens and city personnel. Let’s have another great two weeks!

Respectively,

Mayor Finley 

March 8 to 21

Team,

What a busy and “exciting” two weeks at city hall. Between storms, seasons, and Spring Break we have enjoyed a flurry of activity.

Here are a few of the high lights from the two weeks;

·        Engineering reports the civil design was completed on the two intersections to support the new middle school. They have been sent to Public Works for their final review and to Croy Engineering for their use in modifying the signals to accommodate the new geometry. Also, the Shorter Street drainage project will start construction in early May.

·        Building created 105 permits, issued 102 permits, opened 18 code enforcement cases, and picked up 36 signs from the ROW during the two weeks.

·        Public Works continued to support our street sweeping company, collecting and disposing of the debris they picked up throughout the past few weeks.

·        At our 3-12 Council meeting Sergeant McCants, Officer DeFazio and Officer Landrom were presented with Life Saving Award Medals for their actions in saving a life via CPR.

·        Officer Taylor-Duncan, Officer Shane Kyker, Officer Russ Owens, and Officer Wooden conducted RAD class for 19 participants. We had several notes of appreciation from the participants.

·        The spring sports season has begun with Baseball, softball, and soccer practices taking place in both Dublin and Palmer parks. Our fields are in great shape and many are excited to get back to enjoying the parks.

·        A bench and trash can were installed at the Mill Creek Greenway extension.  The dog waste station will be installed soon once the equipment arrives.

·        I received the following note from our Street Sweeping winning bidder….”Our company, Sweeping Beauty, LLC dba CAM South, recently completed the annual street sweeping for Madison.  I wanted to let you know that working with your City and the Engineering Department, specifically Gina Romine and her team was a real pleasure.  The entire process from bid opening, an initial pre-planning meeting, through completion was managed in a first-class manner.  Gina’s team, with support from Public Works, was great in all aspects of our job and ensured a successful outcome.”

·        Our Madison Fire and Rescue team responded to 185 incidents, 128 of which were EMS related. They also conducted 116 Fire Inspections during the two weeks brining the YTD total to 1205.

·        Our Madison Police responded to 2063 Calls for Service during the two weeks.

·        Court reports that we also had our first tax intercepts this week.  We were able to collect some old fines and court costs that would more than likely never been paid by using the Alabama Tax Intercept Program. This was approved by Council a couple of weeks ago and has now started paying dividends to our city.

·        We also received the following positive note from the President of the Construction Company who built the Fleet Feet/Results Physical Therapy buildout…. “I wanted to personally let you know of my appreciation for the cooperation and professionalism that Dustin and Kipp provided me during the construction of the above referenced projects. I was able to construct these two projects with very limited issues.  Both of my clients are extremely happy with their new locations in Madison.”

·        MARS completed 180 rides during the two weeks.

·        The electrical work for Palmer Park Expansion is going out for bid.  The bid is scheduled to be awarded at April 26, 2021 City Council meeting.  I anticipate the facility opening in August.

·        Recreation staff is preparing the Easter Egg Hunt scheduled for Saturday, March 27, 2021. 

·        A huge thanks to our Public Works team for the multiple “cleaned our clogged drain” activities noted in their report due to the storms this week.

·        Our mid-year budget has now made its way to Council and hopefully will be approved at Monday’s Council meeting.

Warm weather is coming and Spring just might stay for a while. Thanks to each and every one of you for your continued focus on our citizens and community. Let’s have a great week!

Proud to be your Mayor,

Respectively,

Mayor Finley

In Closing

As always, I will be updating this blog every couple of weeks. Please check back during the the first quarter of 2021 for new information. You can also provide your email address in the box below for a subscription and be notified when the blog is updated  I can be reached at Email Maura or 256.337.2408. Thank you again for your continued support!

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