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Madison City Council meets monthly on the second and fourth Mondays at City Hall in Council Chambers. RECORD PHOTOS

Madison City Council presents second city coin to Jack Clift

MADISON — During their Dec. 17 meeting, Madison City Council approved all items on the agenda and announced that their second city coin recently went to longtime Madison resident and influencer Jack Clift.

The idea to present a city coin each month to an outstanding citizen was implemented in November by the newly named Council President Steve Smith. Madison Mayor Paul Finley presented the first coin to BeBe Oetjen, another longtime resident of Madison who has been actively showing her love for the city for decades.

Though Clift was not present at the meeting, his daughters Charlotte and Anne came on his behalf. Council then played a video showing District 4 Councilman Greg Shaw presenting the coin to Clift at his home at an earlier time.

“It was a pleasure spending a little time with him this week,” Shaw said. He also thanked Charlotte and Anne for coming to the meeting to represent the Clift family.

To view the full video, visit the Facebook page “City of Madison, Alabama City Hall.”

Earlier in the meeting, Tom Scovill and BeBe Oetjen were once again the only citizens to voice their concerns during the public comments portion. Scovill continued his thoughts from the previous meeting concerning the unfairness of the property tax increase.

Scovill, who has lived in Madison for 25 years, argued that raising taxes for growth is “unfair.”

“Growth is O.K. except when it requires a large tax increase to pay for it, especially when it does not benefit me and any other current residents of Madison,” he said. Scovill went on to express his dismay with the sales tax increases in recent years and the 110-percent increase in the education tax that would occur with the new property tax. He also said the influx of new homes will slow the appreciation of his home and again brought up the two-mil difference in Triana and Madison’s education property taxes.

“I’m not against growth,” Scovill said. “I’m simply against growth that does me no good and which requires me to pay higher taxes. As Mayor Finley presented earlier this year, the city can get by with slower growth without raising taxes.”

Scovill also told council the property tax exemption for homesteads needs to be reformed to include the education millage, and “these exemptions should be applied to municipalities as well.”  He also suggested freezing assessments at age 65 for those who have lived in their homes 10 years or more or assessing the homesteads of seniors at five percent instead of the current 10 percent.

He also said he is lobbying legislators for these and other reforms, as well as delay referendum on the tax increase until 2020.

Following Scovill’s remarks, Oetjen touched on the continued issue of the cones that have been placed in front of the Senior Center. She asked the council why they are not taken up promptly after school traffic has died down.

“In my wildest dreams, I do not understand that they’d ever want to put these double lanes of traffic in front of the Senior Center,” Oetjen said. “… There are all kinds of exits on the other side of the building that they can use. It might inconvenience them a little bit, but they’re inconveniencing the Senior Center tremendously.” One concern Oetjen addressed is the potential for a situation at the Senior Center that would require an ambulance to come.

District 7 Councilman John Seifert said the construction affecting the traffic pattern changes should end by Jan. 2, and both he and Parks and Recreation Director Kory Alfred would go pick up the cones themselves for the rest of this week.

The council then approved a short consent agenda and finance committee report. Items included the following: an $890 payment to 4Site for civil engineering on Short Street, part of the Kyser Boulevard project; a payment of nearly $516,000 to Hoar Construction for construction work on the new stadium; a $300 payment to Geo Solutions for NPDES monitoring for November of the services phase; and a payment of ad valorem taxes, equivalent to nearly $3,900, to Tastyland, LLC for the new library parking lot property.

The council also accepted two donations for senior activities: a $100 donation from anonymous and $200 from American Legion Post 229.

In council reports, District 1 Councilwoman Maura Wroblewski warned citizens to be mindful of coyotes in the city, showing a picture of a 70-pound coyote that had recently lingered for a while in her neighbor’s yard.

“We’ve put out in our neighborhood to just be very careful with having any children out, pets, don’t put your cats out at all—that’s illegal anyway—don’t let out small dogs unless you’re with them, and just be very aware,” Wroblewski warned.

She also commended the Madison Police Department and animal control for their help in the matter.

In addition to his city coin presentation, Shaw reminded citizens that Christmas Card Lane is happening, and citizens can vote on designs once per device. Teacher grants will also be open Jan. 1-15. More information on both of those topics can be found at artsmadison.org. Later, Shaw also showed everyone some new baseball shirts council received from Madison Baseball.

Five people were appointed Dec. 17 to either fill vacant board positions or continue serving in their existing places. The following is a list of these board members and their places:

  • Amy Patterson: Madison City Disability Advocacy Board (MCDAB), Place 9
  • Betty Fletcher: Zoning Board of Adjustment and Appeals, Place 1
  • Robert Szmyd: Water Board, Place 5
  • Terris Tatum: Water Board, Place 2
  • Dawson Brown: MCDAB, Place 7

The council also approved two items after holding a public hearing for each. There were no citizen comments in the hearings.

The first was an amendment to Section 4-6A-1 and 4-6A-5 of the Zoning Ordinance pertaining to thrift stores. The approval of the amendment means thrift stores are allowed to be established in Madison as a conditional use, and donations will only be permitted, with proper signage, at a designated area around back or inside the shop. Products would also be prohibited from being displayed out front.

“All of our thrift stores that are currently existing in the city now can comply with those conditions, so by adding those conditions, we’re not going to create a problem for any existing thrift store,” said Planning Director Mary Beth Broeren.

The second public hearing resulted in council authorizing the assessment of weed liens at certain properties on the following streets: High Road, Amsterdam Place, Champions Green and Cliftworth Place.

All items were also approved on the agenda for the Court, Engineering, Fire, Planning and Recreation departments. These items respectively include:

  • authorization for an inmate housing agreement with the Madison County Commission
  • a contract with Morell Engineering in the amount of about $34,500 for engineering services related to the Bradford Farms sidewalk
  • authorization of a professional services agreement with S&ME Inc. for a peer review on the proposed design for the roundabout at Huntsville-Brownsferry and Burgreen roads that Engineering Director Gary Chynoweth said will amount to about $3,435
  • authorization to purchase replacement cardiac monitors from NASPO Cooperative Purchasing Program that Fire Chief David Bailey said will likely amount to a little less than $60,000, to be paid from the departmental budget
  • authorization of an agreement with Physio-Control Inc. for technical service and support for defibrillators and chest compression systems
  • authorization of a professional services agreement with Mullins, LLC for seismic analysis related to the construction of the multi-purpose venue for $12,300
  • authorization of a professional services agreement with J.M. Phillips Engineering, LLC for the preparation of conceptual park layout plans for proposed renovations to neighborhood parks, which Alfred said will address a few parks at a time

Madison City Council typically meets on the second and fourth Mondays of every month in the council chambers on the main level of Madison Municipal Complex, located at 100 Hughes Road. Stay up to date on city and council matters at www.madisonal.gov.

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