Launch 2035 Regional Visioning Effort
- What will we look like in 20 years if we do nothing different? What are our opportunities to do new things in new ways for added economic impact?
- Spearheading 20-year regional visioning effort – LAUNCH 2035 – with business leaders in Limestone, Madison, Morgan counties
- Hired Civic Analytics of Austin and EntreWorks of Arlington as consultants
- Raised $107,500 from private sector for Phases 1 and 2.
- Recruited 25-member Leadership Team
- Three task forces formed: 1) Entrepreneurship, 2) Land Use Planning, 3) Workforce Development
- Hired Red Sage Communications of Decatur to produce logo, website
Support Huntsville City Schools effort to obtain Unitary Status
- We believe the steps taken to earn Unitary Status will provide enhanced opportunities for academic excellence to all students in Huntsville City Schools.
- We believe the HCS/DOJ Consent Order offers a clear roadmap to earning Unitary Status which will benefit our local education system.
- We salute Huntsville City Schools leadership for its hard work in achieving this agreement and their continued efforts to earn Unitary Status.
Support changing the Madison County Schools Superintendent from an elected to an appointed position
- Only 2 states allow elected superintendents — Alabama and Florida.
- Of 15,000 superintendents in U.S., less than 100 are elected
- Elected superintendents can’t be removed for failure in performance until next election
- Elected comes from limited pool w/low qualifications
- High-quality education begins with high-quality leadership – Superintendent & Board
- An appointed Superintendent is selected from the most qualified in the U.S. and is held accountable by an elected school board and public
- The Board of Education sets the vision and they and the Superintendent work as a team
- Next Madison County Superintendent election in 2018
Support Our Schools’ Ad Valorem Tax Renewals
- Several ad valorem taxes, providing over $58 million in annual funding of the Huntsville, Madison, and Madison County Schools, were scheduled to expire in December of 2017.
- The general election ballot on December 12, 2017 included a referendum on the renewal of six different City and County property taxes, which are dedicated to supporting local schools – 16 mills for Huntsville, 9.5 mills for the city of Madison, and 9.5 mills for Madison County.
- Property taxes are levied against the ‘assessed value’ of property – homeowner’s rate is 10% of value; business’ rate is 20% of value.
- Alabama has the lowest property taxes in the U.S. Average Alabama property taxes are $523/year and the U.S. average is$1,400/year.
- None of the taxes on the ballot were new taxes.
- The referendum passed with over 70% vote for all three systems.
Support Home Rule
- Grants certain powers held by legislature to county commissions – 1) Economic development; 2) Services including planning, zoning, sewer, fire protection, etc; 3) Taxation
- Madison County has only economic development authority
- Baldwin & Shelby Counties have full home rule
- Madison County becoming more urban
- Master planning for growth not allowed
- Property values not protected due to lack of zoning
- Metro land use planning with cities not possible
- High-density neighborhoods need sewer option
- High-density neighborhoods need full-time fire department – would offer insurance reductions
- May include taxing power by vote or referendum
Support Pro-Business Climate
- We support a pro-business climate as critical to our continued economic growth and are opposed to the formation of unions.
- We discourage elected leaders from agreeing to the demands of public employee unions.
- We support a state constitutional amendment on right to work. This would make us one of 10 states in the country to make right to work this high-level priority and make it more difficult to overturn in the future. It will give us a leg-up in economic development and we urge you to vote YES on this in November.