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Strategic issues face Madison

By Staff
Mitch Freeman Madison County Record
Madison would benefit from strategic planning and growth committees, according to a group of community leaders who recently completed a 10-month study of city government.
The Local Government Group, which is part of the 16th leadership class sponsored by the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce, recently presented its recommendations to the Madison City Council.
According to a document prepared by the group, the group advised that the following six actions be taken:
* Complete a survey of Madison residents by August. * Foster unity among elected city council members and the mayor. * Hire a person or organization to oversee recruitment of retail business and industry. * Develop a comprehensive 10-year growth plan for fiscal year 2013. * Continue development of a survey tool to monitor ongoing needs of Madison residents. * Develop a comprehensive development plan that includes all Madison entities.
The key for growth and a stable tax base, according to the group, is attracting large retail stores. Those stores' large scale volume offer the greatest benefit for city coffers.
Madison relies primarily on sales tax for revenue, rather than property tax, thus the emphasis on retail.
The leadership group also addressed the controversial hospital issue. Committee members said the lack of local hospital has had a negative impact on attracting major white-collar business to Madison.
Leadership group member, Madison resident and Madison Industrial Board member Don Palmer made the presentation to the city. Palmer said the presentation had two purposes: to help the city of Madison and to spotlight the work of Leadership Huntsville/Madison County.
"I want to highlight the value of the Huntsville/Madison leadership program to the community," Palmer said. "This leadership class has brought forward aspects of government that I wouldn't be aware of otherwise."
Palmer said he became a member of the industrial board as a result of the leadership program. Ron Klein, another member of the group, became a member of the city zoning board.
Others on the team are Dana Averbuch, Robert Broussard, Brenda Friend and Gregory Gum. The group began their project in August 2002 and will end it on July 24.
Palmer said the group has discussed voluntary follow up on the suggestions made to the city.

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