(February 2009) Madison Mayor Tim Armstrong
says his first year in office was busy and enjoyable, but he never counted
on facing two of his biggest challenges the remnants of Hurricane
Ike that struck the city on Sept. 14 and the recent downturn in the
A Merit Board for the citys police department
was created to manage all affairs and functions. The police department
also filled several vacancies.
The city put considerable effort into grading
the shovel ready site at the Madison Business Park on Hutchinson
Lane to make it even more shovel ready, Armstrong said.
The excavation done there improved the drainage by creating a retention
pond. The plan is for Hutchinson Lane to be widened soon, and as part
of that project, a wide entrance into the Business Park will be created,
he said. So far, no business has located there. Meanwhile, city officials
are considering a plan to extend Hutchinson Lane all the way to Hwy.
7 to help alleviate semi-truck traffic on Clifty Drive.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges in the
next few years will be the projected shortfall in revenue, in part due
to the recent cuts in property taxes. Budget projections show that the
city will experience a revenue shortfall of about $21,000 in 2009, $330,000
in 2010 and more than $400,000 in 2011.
Armstrong said he hopes to get the public
restrooms built at the riverfront this year, continue to develop the
Madison Bicentennial Park and initiate some of the recommendations in
the Branding Project set forth by Seattle consultant Roger
Brooks. Brooks is due to return to Madison in March or April to present
his final Branding plan to better market the city and downtown retail
district to tourists. A group of local government, business and nonprofit
agencies paid Brooks $50,000 to develop a brand for Madison.
Armstrong said the $800,000 roof recently installed
at City Hall was a necessary expense to keep the ceiling from falling
in. Water damage was evident throughout the building. He is hoping money
will soon become available to renovate the interior of the upstairs
floors and possibly move the police department from the basement into
one of the floors in the future.
The city recently condemned the charred remains
of the Elks Club on West Street so the group could collect on its insurance
and move forward with building or renting another place. Arsonists burned
the building in August 2006. Rather than demolish the building, city
officials hope to find someone to take over the property for $1 and
restore it to some useful purpose. A preservationist from Cannelton,
Ind., has expressed interest in it, but negotiations with her recently
stalled because Elks Club members say they want to be paid for the property.
The issue has yet to be resolved.
The city is trying to decide what to do about
building a new, or renovating the existing, Senior Citizens Center.
A grant totaling $30,000 was obtained to pay a consultant to study the
issue and make a recommendation. The study is to be completed in 2009,
and once a decision is made, the city can apply for a state grant totaling
$500,000 to proceed with the project, Armstrong said.
Armstrong said the recent monthly meetings
on the future construction of a new Ohio River Bridge have been a helpful
in keeping the pressure on state and federal governments to pursue the
project. The bridge is a critical economic crossing for our community,
our local industries and our downtown, and we must keep working on this
with our friends in Kentucky. We must stay positive and not lose our
Murphy said the biggest challenge ahead is to continue
to pursue infrastructure improvements and economic development initiatives
in the face of declining revenues. People dont want a decline
in services, but we are experiencing a significant decline in revenues,
so managing that will be a challenge, and I think Tim has a keen awareness
of the tensions that exists there.