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Council moves forward on retail recruiter plan

By By Mitch Freeman Madison County Record
Madison Mayor Jan Wells now has 10 days to sign an agreement that would give the Madison Chamber of Commerce control over a project to hire a retail business recruiter for the city.
If the mayor fails to sign the agreement within the allotted time, Madison City Council President Jim Reagan was authorized the council to approve the contract and move the project forward.
Rather than sign the contact with the MCC that was previously approved by the council, Wells offered a counter proposal that would shift project ownership to the city.
Under the MCC plan, a consultant would be hired for three to four months to work with an advisory committee to hire a permanent retail business recruiter. The city had agreed to provide $50,000 to fund the project until the end of this fiscal year, Sept. 31, contingent upon the mayor's signature.
Wells' alternative eliminates the use of a consultant to support the advisory committee, opting that the advisory committee hire a permanent retail recruiter.
In both plans, the advisory committee would consist of the mayor, a city council liaison, MCC president, and a representative from the Madison Water and Wastewater, and Industrial boards.
"It doesn't have enough oversight," Wells said of the MCC plan. "It has way too much gray area."
Councilman Larry Vannoy's argument was that there would be too much administrative overhead involved under the proposal offered by the mayor.
Rather than use of an advisory committee consisting of city officials, Councilwoman Cynthia McCollum said she likes the idea of having a consultant's help in the search for a retail recruiter.
"Let the Madison Chamber of Commerce do what they're supposed to be doing," Council President Jim Reagan said.
The council again resolved to go with the MCC plan, but this time set a 10-day limit for the mayor to sign the agreement. As council president, Reagan would be authorized to sign the agreement if the mayor does not within the allotted time.
In other council business:
* Councilman Bob Wagner called for a council work session to discuss operational organization and projects that need funding.
"We need to take a look at the way things work around here," Wagner said.
The work session to be held at City Hall was scheduled for Wednesday, June 11 at 5:30 p.m.
* Madison resident Bruce Tucker voiced his objections about moving forward with city redistricting as proposed by Bridge &Slaughter, LLC. Tucker's points of objection were: the proposed redistricting was done to keep incumbents in their districts, several census blocks have been split, and the plan has been developed with little or no public input.
Council members pointed out that maps have been placed on the city's web site and at other public places, including City Hall. They also pointed out that redistricting has been on every city council meeting agenda for sometime. Councilmen Ray Stubblefield, Bob Wagner and City Attorney Anne-Marie Lacy said they have not had any public input concerning redistricting.
District 1 Councilwoman Cynthia McCollum said she organized a public hearing for her district and Mike Slaughter of Bridge &Slaughter attended at her request to address public concerns and questions. The meeting went well, she said.
The council resolved to invite Slaughter to attend another public meeting at a time to be determined.
* City Engineer Jo Somers told the council about a plan to resolve the drainage issue that Stone Street resident Terry Ragland brought before the council earlier this month. Asphalt burms will be built around exiting drainage inlets in such a way that the water will be trapped so it can drain, rather than flood, down the street. Also, drainage ditches along Stewart Street will be cleaned out so water will stay in the ditch and drain. Somers said the work would be done in June.
* The council approved payment of $148,689.73 to Shelby Contracting for Hughes Road resurfacing; payment of $11,524 to Sherman Concrete Pipe for drainage materials to improve the drainage ditch north of Gooch Lane at Hughes Road; and payment of $10,000 to Auburn University for a downtown Madison revitalization plan.
* Six city firefighters were approved to attend Command Control of Incident Operations, Rapid Intervention Company Operations and Fire Instructor III training during June. Two firefighters will attend each training session.
* Police Chief Dan Busken will enter an agreement with North Alabama Highway Safety Office for reimbursement of $3,000 for overtime worked, in regard to the Click It or Ticket program. Busken will also enter a six-moth lease at $150 for a police sub-station at 106-C Carmine Circle.
* Fire Chief Ralph Cobb was given approval to purchase $60,000 of budgeted for equipment, related to Homeland Security.
* Just over 40 acres north of Browns Ferry Road and south of Walden Subdivision Phase III will be rezoned from agricultural use to medium density residential.
* Madison volunteer Project P.R.O.U.D. will receive a $1,500 donation from the city to help with construction of a replacement facility to provide restrooms, concessions and storage space in support of the upper quad at Palmer Park.

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