The Huntsville Report
February 11, 2023
The Huntsville Report
February 11, 2023

The meeting opened at 6:00 pm with a prayer in Jesus’ name offered by the lead pastor from Asbury Church, Rev. Dr. Tommy Gray. Many people were present to observe. Some were in attendance to receive awards, and many others out of concern for the heavy debt the city is incurring for the development of Town Madison.

Attendance of Officials

City officials present: Mayor Paul Finley

Council member attendance:

Ranae Bartlett
Teddy Powell
John Seifers
Greg Shaw
Connie Spears Maura Wroblewski

Karen Denzine


  • The council voted on what they termed “reorganization” by electing Ranae Bartlett as president pro tem, and forming a finance committee of three council members.
  • With the exception of Teddy Powell’s abstention on adoption of the recent meetings’ minutes, all votes were unanimous in favor.

Public Comments

  • Thomas Arnold asked for signs to be placed in his neighborhood since people park in the median in the middle of the street as overflow parking, and the police said there is nothing they can do.
  • Bernadette Mayer said she is concerned about bond issues and lack of transparency.
  • Jennifer Coe complained that the City wants to assume new debt in order to pay off existing debt, especially for the flyovers (freeway ramps) for Town Madison.
  • Margi Daly complained that the city does not provide streetlights in her neighborhood, (e.g. on Brown’s Ferry Road), but that Town Madison is well-lit. She also pointed out that the debt from flyovers is $97 million and will take until 2049 to pay off.
  • Sara Parker complained about the reduction in public comment time from 5 minutes, which included getting answers from the council members, to 3 minutes with no responses. A council member responded that they used other councils’ policies to help update their own.

Notable Items from District Reports

  • Teddy Powell (District 3) mentioned that the City has a responsibility to engage in economic development, as well as providing roads, public services, etc.

Notable Items in Votes on Resolutions Presented in Department Reports

  • $5 million in Biden stimulus American Rescue Plan Act funds were obligated for the purchase and renovation of the “Hexagon” property with soccer and other recreation fields, parking lots, and a restroom. The reason for selecting this property was to provide more needed facilities for the aging, with a mention of possible construction of a pickleball facility on the property.
  • Approved the financing (including bonds) and construction of flyovers for Town Madison. They authorized $10M for starting the work but expect to only need $2M. Teddy Powell said that Town Madison is now financially self-sustaining. Ranae Bartlett said that Madison is authorized to be up to 50% in debt, so there is room to incur an additional $420 million of debt. This implied that citizens should not be concerned about the City of Madison’s debt. John Seifert said that the Council is part of the community, so if they make bad decisions, they too will suffer.
  • “First reading” on a plan to implement a “diversion program” for first-time offenders. This means counseling and addressing root causes for peoples’ behavior, in hopes of deterring them from future crime and keeping them out of jail. A supporting reason given was that other cities are doing this and that Madison is behind in adopting it. This will be voted on in a later meeting.
  • Authorized $346,543 for a four-stall public restroom at the Kids’ Kingdom area of Dublin Park. Council member Maura Wroblewski praised the inclusion of a stall with an adult changing table for severely disabled adults, as she initiated the request for that.

The next Council “work session” is scheduled for November 30.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 7:40 pm.

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