The Huntsville Report
February 18, 2023
The Huntsville Report
February 18, 2023

Topics of Note

  • Transition to City Manager form of government
  • Approval of liquor licenses
  • Recognition of performance of Madison Police Department
  • All votes unanimous 


City Officials Present:

Paul Finley, Mayor 

Mary Beth Broeren, Director of Developmental Services 

City council Members Present: Absent: 
Ranae Bartlett Greg Shaw 
Teddy Powell 
Connie Spears 
Maura Wroblewski 
Karen Denzine 

 Governance Model Transition to City Manager 

In discussion, public comments were predominantly concerned about the transition from the current City governance model to the City Manager model. Several citizens expressed opposition to the change, and Bernadette Mayer noted that the City is currently carrying debt worth $343 million. 

In their District Reports, the Council disclaimed responsibility for the transition to City Manager governance. The mayor and several council members noted that the governance transition did not originate with them and therefore are not responsible for it. The group Madison Forward initiated change, and Mayor Finley noted that “Madison Forward is their own group” and that “the City will not take a stance.” 

Council member Teddy Powell noted he has received 82 emails about the transition, and did not wish to disclose his vote as a private citizen. He noted that the City Council is “just part of the process.” John Seifert concurred that “it’s not up to us.” Ranae Bartlett said the Council’s only vote related to this transition is whether there will be 5 or 7 seats on the Council in the future. 

Praise for the Madison Police Department 

Mayor Finley noted that the recent police shooting situation in Memphis was a bad thing. In January the Madison Police Citizen Advisory Committee held a seminar about how officers make traffic stops, what drivers should expect, and how to respond to officers. Attendance at this event was the largest the CAC had ever recorded. Karen Denzine said that since she has some responsibility in this area, she rode along with two officers the previous weekend. During her rides, most stops were for traffic violations, the majority of which resulted in a warning to the driver rather than issuance of a ticket. She highly praised the professionalism of the police, and further noted that public response to the police encounters she witnessed was good. 

Liquor Licenses Approved 

Several liquor licenses were approved: one at a gas station and another at a bowling alley (both due to ownership change), and another for a restaurant. A zoning official noted that some years ago the Council completely eliminated any restrictions on the proximity of liquor vendors to schools and churches.

Other Items 

The Council authorized spending $1.25 million for resurfacing and improving Madison Boulevard, to complement $5 million of funding from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). 

The Council authorized spending $127,000 to begin converting tennis courts into pickleball courts in the Hexagon Project. This property was to be acquired with $5 million in COVID relief funds from the State. The City will ultimately convert the former Hexagon facilities into a recreation center and fire station serving the Town Madison and Triana areas. 

Next Meeting 

The session on Wednesday, February 15 is scheduled for work on the capital improvement list. The meeting will be livestreamed.

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