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(PHOTO/madisonal.gov)

Madison City Council continues with city projects, improvements

MADISON — As Madison continues to grow and develop, Madison City Council has been approving several payments and other items of business relating to city projects and improvements.

Road improvements have been at the forefront of recent meetings, in terms of payment approvals from the council. Some of these include the widening of Hughes Road, the widening of Sullivan Street, a roundabout at Balch and Gillespie roads and improvements to Kyser Boulevard.

Other projects that have received several mentions in the agenda—especially for payment approvals—include the new Public Works facility and the “multi-use venue stadium” at Town Madison, future home of the Rocket City Trash Pandas.

Council approved all items on the agenda under the consent agenda and finance committee report at their March 25 meeting. The majority of these were payments pertaining to city projects and road improvements:

  • nearly $29,000 to 5R Design for the new Public Works facility
  • about $33,000 to Madison Utilities for materials and services provided for the new Public Works facility
  • $18,000 to Croy Engineering for their services to date on the widening of Sullivan Street from Madison Boulevard to Kyser Boulevard
  • two payments for a total of nearly $750 to Alabama Concrete Inc. for the library land and parking project
  • nearly $675 to Lowe’s for materials used for the library land and parking project
  • about $541 to Ram Tool for supplies used for the library land and parking project
  • authorization of funding for improvements to Stone Street (up to $8,000 from Council Special Projects Budget and $2,500 from donated County Commission funding)
  • $300 to Geo Solutions for NPDES monitoring for February for the multi-use venue stadium

The only other payment was nearly $170 to send a detective to a training. Other items approved included the acceptance of an insurance settlement for a flood-damaged police car and the donation of surplus police department RAD training equipment.

A $10,000 appropriation from Alabama Rep. Mac McCutcheon to support the Home Place Park project was also accepted by the council, as well as $2,500 from Madison County Commissioner Steve Haraway. That will be used for road improvements.

During the council’s presentation of reports, District 5 Councilman Tommy Overcash introduced the HR Committee’s request to hire in a new “really good” candidate at a higher-step pay to fill a position in the Building Department, a change the council agreed upon. Overcash said the candidate already has municipal experience and is currently being paid at about the step one level. With the position having a history of being difficult to keep filled, Overcash said the committee hopes better pay will be an incentive to keep that position filled. The increase would still allow for raises down the line.

Council also approved all items on the agenda for the Engineering, IT, Police and Parks and Recreation departments. These items respectively include:

  • an agreement with Consulting Construction Engineering for electrical design of a new 2.3-acre urban park, as well as street lighting for Shorter and Short streets: $4,880
  • an agreement with Drew Crow Landscape Architecture for the schematic design of eight potential locations for future Madison City gateway monuments: $4,000
  • resolution authorizing and directing the mayor to execute a two-year service agreement with WOW for cable modem services: $620 per month
  • an agreement with Guardian Tracking for employee performance management software: $5,657 per year for three years
  • an agreement with Arizona Structures for air structure disassembly: $16,700
  • award bid for Dublin Park storage building to Hogan’s Mechanical Services: $183,000

Council President Steve Smith said the total cost of the gateway monuments will be determined later. Finley said the public will be made aware of the results, including the design and location of the new monuments, before council votes on the matter.

“When it comes to landscaping, as far as things that we can maintain appropriately—and if we’re going to put it in, we need to make sure it looks nice—there’s eight different locations that have been defined … most likely we will bring you one, maybe two, but we have to get it started and then have an idea of cost,” Finley said.

Overcash said he thinks the monuments are a “wonderful” idea. “It’s something we’ve been talking about off and on for over a decade, probably,” he added.

While the cost of the new Dublin Park storage building is higher than originally anticipated, Parks and Rec Director Kory Alfred said the final building will be about 900 square feet. It will be at the south end of the pool, west of the current HVAC portion built for the air structure, and closer to the parking lot. The air structure, Alfred said, is estimated to last about five to six times longer—a little more than two decades—in the building, covered, than if it were stored elsewhere and not properly maintained.

Council also approved two more appropriations earlier in the meeting, including $15,000 to Madison Animal Rescue Foundation and $30,000 to the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce.

According to Miki Bennett, director of MARF, the 100-percent-volunteer organization was founded more than a decade ago and has helped Madison become considered a no-kill community.

“At that time, Madison had no adoption program,” Bennett explained, and the euthanasia rate was high.

Since its founding, MARF has saved more than 6,000 animals from a variety of circumstances. Bennett said their vet bills total about $150,000 a year. “The appropriation certainly helps in vetting these animals so that we can take care of them and put them in good homes,” she added.

As president and CEO of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce, Chip Cherry shared the statistics of Madison’s support for the chamber. He said a little more than 9 percent of the chamber’s membership consist of members in the city of Madison. Several current chamber projects are also related to the new Mazda-Toyota plant, which Cherry said Madison helped make possible. There are currently three active projects involving the chamber in Madison.

In addition, Cherry said about 15 percent of the overall capture rate for all the projects located in the region are in the city of Madison, according to the chamber’s economic impact model. Cherry called this “pretty strong participation” from Madison.

“Thank you for your partnership,” Cherry told the mayor and council. “… We’re experiencing a period of great growth and prosperity, and a lot of that’s due to the partnership that you guys are a key part of.”

Finley said the appropriation increased from last year. “(The increase) is a very positive thing,” he added. “I know the chamber, when it comes to the success that they’ve had, this continues to be a great investment for our city.”

Boards and committees also have openings, which can be viewed on madisonal.gov. Applications are also still open until April 15 to fill the vacancy on the Madison City Board of Education. Overcash said the council will vote on the new board member in May, and that person will begin in June.

Madison City Council typically meets on the second and fourth Mondays of every month at 6 p.m. in the council chambers on the main level of Madison Municipal Complex, located at 100 Hughes Rd. Stay up to date on city and council matters at www.madisonal.gov.

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