With the goal of keeping local parents (and voters) as informed as possible about all things parent-related, the editors of Rocket City Mom compiled “4 Questions for the Candidates”. We asked all the Huntsville City and Madison City candidates to answer the same four questions, and have published their responses unedited and as they have sent them to us.
Get to know a little about each candidate and where they stand on serving local families in our full Know Your Vote series. We encourage all of our readers to exercise their democratic right and vote on Tuesday, August 25, 2020.
4 Questions with Paul Finley
Q. What do you see as the top three most pressing issues facing Huntsville today? What are your plans to address those issues?
Managing Growth – Our top issue in Madison is one that every city in Alabama wishes they had, families want to move here to enjoy our incredible quality of life. Thus, managing growth is Madison’s current top issue.
Working with our city council we have addressed this issue in multiple ways including;
Passing the 2019 Property Tax increase, making sure our Madison City Schools are able to build the new classrooms needed to support our growth.
Working with our City Council we passed the Madison Growth Policy, a structured decision tree which breaks down desired and non-desired growth, guiding council on decisions that impact growth. Council has followed this policy since its implementation in 2019.
Mayor and Council have not annexed any new land over 3 acres in Limestone County.
Any new rezoning brought to Council now must have an accompanying Development Agreement with it, defining the ground rules for the project. Focus is put on stretching growth out, verifying we have at least 20% green space, and other factors that help manage growth.
Improving Road Infrastructure – Improving our roads for improved travel time and safety has, and most likely always will be, an issue facing Madison. We have been very successful at starting major road projects that make a positive impact for our residents including;
Our 5-laning of Sullivan Street from Madison Bvld to just south of the downtown RR tracks.
Our 5-laning of Hughes Road from Plaza to Millstone.
We secured a $1.8 million ATRIP grant from the State to improve the I-565/Wall Triana intersection (our highest accident intersection in the city).
We have secured a $5,000,000 approval from the State for another major infrastructure project (to be determined by the end of the year).
We are currently in discussions with our Madison School Board on defining our infrastructure plan for the new Middle School on Celtic. A joint funding agreement will be put in place to proactively move traffic.
Our 2020 City Budget will include the funding for building the Balch/Gillespie roundabout.
Managing the Covid-19 Pandemic – Our generation has never seen a situation like this that impacted so many aspects of our community. It will be critical for our Mayor and Council to continue to manage this situation throughout the next year. Areas of focus we will continue to build off of are;
While some areas including lodging tax and gas tax are down, Madison’s sales tax, our primary funding source, is up over 12% for the year. Over the last four years sales tax is up 40% or $8,000,000.
The Federal Governments CARES Act allotted $144 million to Alabama, and Madison’s possible allocation was just over $2,400,000. Our team, using our expertise and connections, has already secured this funding for Madison.
Our Rocket City Trash Pandas lost their entire season to Covid. As this next set of CARES Act funding is discussed, we fully expect them to fully secure the money they lost to meet all revenue promises to the city.
Our Madison City Schools have had to go to distance learning for the first nine weeks. We are already in discussions with them to use our recently purchased Three Springs facility, if needed.
Q. Why do you believe you are the right person for this office?
I have 8 years of Mayoral experience I am able to utilize to continue creating positive results for our citizens. We have supported our Madison City Schools, managed growth, created economic development, and led with our leadership team through this pandemic. I love our city and will look to continue to get up each and every morning to focus on our mission, improving the quality of life for each resident.
Q. If you are currently serving in this position, what new or existing initiatives do you look forward to working on?
Our purchase of the Three Springs facility will be turned into a full community center. We will have 30,000 square feet and 30 acres to grow into, moving our Senior Center along with creating adult activities including basketball, volleyball, tennis, and other sports. In addition, we will have room to build out offices for organizations such as Wellstone Mental Health, National Children’s Advocacy Center, the Enrichment Center, the American Legion, and multiple others.
Historic Downtown Madison continues to build out, and our focus remains adding livability, shopping, dining, and walkability. Homeplace Park, including an outdoor amphitheater, will start this year and we are working with our Madison City Schools on the road structure and walking paths for our new middle school.
Covid stopped our opening season for our Rocket City Trash Pandas dead in its tracks. Our community hasn’t fully been able to utilize the new multi-use venue. With almost $3,000,000 in merchandise sales before they even play their first game we will regain our momentum starting with the 2021 season.
Working with our District 2 Madison County Commissioner Steve Haraway, we will be adding the ability for residents to take their driver’s license test out of the Old Madison Pike licensing office. This should open no later than October, 2020.
Q. What is your overall vision/mission when it comes to families living in your city? What are your ideas about how to best serve them specifically?
My vision has, and will continue to be, creating positive actionable results for our citizens. Areas of focus will continue to be;
Job Creation – Anyone who wants or is able to work has the ability for a great job within our immediate area, even more plentiful with 30,000-50,000 new jobs coming in the next 7-10 years.
Support for our Madison City Schools – The recently passed Property tax in 2019 has created $150 million that our schools will use to build the necessary buildings to manage our city growth. School safety and following our recently passed Growth policy will be two areas that city government can continue to make a positive impact for our citizens.
Improved parks, greenways, and sidewalk connectivity – We will continue to build out our greenway system, improve connectivity for safer bike and pedestrian travel, and add fields and parking to Palmer and Dublin Parks.
Communication – Our Communication Specialist will continue to push information out to our community via our website, Channel 42, social media pages, and during community meetings. I will continue to schedule two hours each two weeks for our citizens to meet one on one, listening to their concerns and helping them obtain information.
Lastly, my vision is to continue to lead and represent Madison with candor, respect, vision, purpose, and integrity.
You Might Also Like…
- Meet the Other 2020 Huntsville & Madison Candidates
- Back to School Guide for Huntsville & Madison County
- Find Fun Things for Kids To Do in Huntsville & Beyond!
Rocket City Mom is a website about raising children in and around Huntsville, Alabama. Started in late 2010 by a local mom and newcomer to Huntsville, Rocket City Mom has grown into a thriving community of local parents and now boasts a staff of four, thirteen regular contributors, and tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley readers making it the #1 Parenting Resource in North Alabama.