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Council endorses renewing property taxes for schools

MADISON – Madison City Council showed its support in the Dec. 12 election for renewal of property taxes that support Madison City Schools.

Council President Tommy Overcash’s resolution was approved to support the tax renewal.

To show the district’s dramatic changes, MCS Superintendent Robbie Parker said he started teaching 30 years ago at Bob Jones High School. Only two other schools existed — Madison Elementary School and West Madison ‘middle school.’ Total enrollment was 504 students.

“In 1998, we created MCS and had the 20th largest high school in the state with 1,309 kids at Bob Jones. In 2005, Bob Jones was the largest high school in Alabama with 2,350 kids. Today, 3,714 kids attend James Clemens and Bob Jones,” Parker said.

The MCS district now has 10,798 students. “I ask you to consider this resolution for tax renewals. I don’t believe that the kids or staff in Madison City could have made us any more proud,” Parker said.

“This is a RENEWAL of existing tax. No new taxes are involved,” Overcash said.

“What would happen if the tax renewal did not pass?” Mayor Paul Finley asked. Parker said the district would lose $6.5 million per year, and “the loss would have to come from personnel.”

In public comments, resident Dan Strickland representing the Waterford neighborhood stated adamant opposition to annexation of two acres at Burgreen and Powell roads.

City Planner Mary Beth Broeren’s ordinance to establish an Urban Center District or UCD, related to Town Madison, passed. District 3 Councilman Teddy Powell and District 6 Councilman Gerald Clark cast nay votes.

Kyle Brickhouse presented a petition of 100-plus residents asking council to reject the rezoning for an Urban Center District. Brickhouse claimed the city is trying to appease developers instead of existing residents. Diane Bond reinforced Brickhouse’s statement and wants light, noise and privacy protection for residents.

Joey Ceci with Madison County Commission said developers will continue to balance needs of prospective businesses and existing neighborhoods.

Concerning the possibility of Mobile Bay Bears locating in Madison, resident David Rose said the idea of bringing minor league baseball was “ridiculous. You’ll waste the money of Madison on a minor league baseball team.”

Council approved payment of these larger bills:

* Holzheimer Bolek & Meehan, architectural and engineering Services for Madison Public Library, $13,899.21.

* Turner Universal, construction management for Madison Public Library, $20,480.

* Pearce Construction Company, Madison Public Library, $453,507.57.

* CDG Engineering, construction management for Downtown Streetscape Phase III, $9,870.

Finley said events during Veterans Week showed Madison students’ respect of military personnel. “To every veteran out there, we thank you for your service.”

District 1 Councilwoman Maura Wroblewski said the Best in Business Awards gala, sponsored by Madison Chamber of Commerce, was a success.

District 2 Councilman Steve Smith commended volunteers and city employees for planting 1,600 wetland trees in Garner Street detention ponds. Smith’s motion failed to raise the city’s financial reserve balance from 15 percent to 20 percent. Smith received acclamation for Buck Clemons in Place 1, Redevelopment Authority.

In department reports, the revenue department’s amendment to increase lodging tax was tabled until after an hoteliers’ meeting on Nov. 17. The police department will pay $19,357.62 for a maintenance agreement with Hexagon (Intergraph Corporation).

Republic Services was approved for bulk trash collection.

Council purchased 1.85 acres on Kyser Boulevard from Papa Jacks Inc. for $229,900.

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