Madison City Council Meeting Recap 4/10/23
1. Community volunteers were recognized by Madison Visionary Partners
Melanie Thorton, Executive Director of Madison Visionary Partners (MVP), recognized the community members and businesses who received Madison Visionary Awards for their outstanding volunteer service in our community. Debbie Overcash was recognized for her decades-long service to the community by receiving the Madison Visionary of the Year award.
Community Volunteer of the Year- Elizabeth Servidio, volunteer with the Madison Senior Center
Youth Volunteer of the Year- Olivia Downs, a senior at James Clemons High School
Philanthropic Business of the Year- Redstone Federal Credit Union
Madison Visionary of the Year- Debbie Overcash
You can read more about the finalists in the March issue of Madison Living Magazine. Debbie Overcash, this year's Madison Visionary of the Year, is featured in this month's edition.
2. Council approved a resolution to require price quotes on goods that do not require bidding according to state law
As part of the Consent Agenda and Finance Committee Report, Council approved Resolution 2023-143-R, which would require price quotes to be obtained for goods that do not require bidding by Alabama law. Which goods would render quotes is based on how much they cost in relation to a certain percentage of the state's bidding threshold. If I Vote Madison understands correctly, currently, by state law, goods and services that cost $15,000 dollars or more must undergo a bidding process. An Alabama legislative bill, HB 168, which has been introduced and referred to the appropriate committee as of the writing of this blog, would double that cost. If passed, it is our understanding that only goods and services costing $30,000 or more would require bids.
3. Citizens provided public comments pertaining to the possible government transition, the reordering of public comments at meetings, and smart utility meters
The first citizen spoke to request that his neighborhood be annexed into the city limits of Madison and into Madison City Schools.
The second citizen asked about opting out of new technology on utility meters (see #4 in this recap for more information) and spoke against the proposed resolution to reorder some public comments to the end of City Council Meetings (see #5 in this recap for more information). They also spoke about the loss of 2 minutes of public comment speaking time as citizens at one time had five minutes instead of three.
[I Vote Madison wants to clarify that five-minute public comments were not previously given to every citizen. Citizens who got up and spoke only had three minutes as they do now. The opportunity for five minutes was given to citizens who signed up the week before the respective meeting. Citizens who signed up for these five-minute slots often had audiovisuals as well, like slides, to accompany their comments. When Council was planning its public participation policy in 2021, Councilperson Ranae Bartlett suggested that all citizens be afforded five minutes. However, the public participation policy created in 2021 instituted an across-the-board three-minute length for public comments. Comments that are made during the public hearings section of meetings remain at five minutes.]
The third citizen was Rosalie Holcombe, the new Board President of Madison Arts Council. She thanked Council for its support and stated that the Arts Council will be relaunching soon as Madison Arts Alliance with fiscal sponsorship from Madison Visionary Partners (MVP). The April 4 edition of MVP's newsletter states, "We are proud to be a fiscal sponsor of the Madison Arts Council, soon to be launched as the Madison Arts Alliance. MVP will be acting as their umbrella nonprofit as they restructure and rebrand. Led by Rosalie Holcombe as the new board president, the Madison Arts Alliance is organizing efforts to drive more arts and culture projects to the City of Madison. We are excited to be working with them to bring an art mural trail to our city." The city granted the Arts Council $5,000 at the meeting by way of Resolution 2023-034-R.
The fourth citizen addressed concerns about the possible government transition, including how the city was involved in the process, and she spoke against reordering some public comments to the end of Council meetings.
The fifth citizen addressed concerns about the possible government transition and spoke against reordering some comments to the end of Council meetings.
4. Councilperson Connie Spears addresses the new technology on residential utility meters
Councilperson Spears provided some information about the new technology being used on residential utility meters, saying that it enables the employees who read meters to read them from the road instead of walking onto properties. They are supposed to increase efficiency and do not come with extra costs to the community.
5 Council approved a temporary resolution enabling them to test out reordering some public comments to the end of Council meetings
Councilperson Shaw presented a temporary resolution, Resolution 2023-144-R, that would move public comments that do not address an item on the meeting agenda to the end of Council meetings. A resident would be able to speak during the first public comment portion as well as the last. Councilperson Shaw and Councilperson Spears said this doubles the public comment time for individuals. The main reason for this resolution is to allow department heads to leave and not have to wait through a lot of public comments before giving their reports to Council. This temporary resolution would apply to meetings during the months of April and May of this year. Council will revisit the issue at the May 17 City Council work session, taking into account any public feedback received during the trial period.
At the meeting, three residents spoke against this resolution during their public comment time. Councilperson Karen Denzine criticized the resolution in her district comments stating, "I believe listening to the citizens is the first order of business and not the last." She pointed out that the trial period for this resolution would occur in the months leading up to the city's special election and applauded the citizens who have been coming to Council meetings and speaking about the issues related to the special election. Councilperson Denzine was the lone vote against the resolution.
The next City Council meeting is Monday, April 24 at 6 pm.
The next work session is Wednesday, May 17 at 5:30 pm.