City Council spars over Town Madison funding, continues with discussionPublished 12:13am Wednesday, July 16, 2014
By Nick Sellers | Staff Reporter
MADISON – The 700-acre Town Madison development project will continue as discussed after a vote was presented at the Madison City Council meeting on July 14. The Council voted to allow tax revenue from the project to go toward the $22 million being spent on infrastructure improvements near the proposed site south of I-565 and between Wall-Triana Highway and Zierdt Road.
District 2 Councilman Steve Smith voiced his opposition to the measure, ultimately being the lone dissenting vote. Smith explained his concerns after the meeting:
“[I’m concerned with] the city being able to recover its short-term expenditures on the project,” he said. “That’s it.”
Smith engaged in a back-and-forth between Council President Tommy Overcash, Mayor Troy Trulock and others during discussion of the proposal. Gerald Clark, District 6 Councilman, emphasized the potential long-term benefits of the project.
“This is an opportunity to create a tax base,” Clark said.
Town Madison Cooperative District is being developed by Louis Breland, who is acting in cooperation with Intergraph. Breland is borrowing the $22 million and paying for the infrastructure improvements.
District 3 Councilman DJ Klein, who works with the city’s Finance Committee, said the bond amount can be adjusted and the city can start collecting the tax revenues if Madison city sees fit.
Smith explained that he doesn’t see the city come close to becoming bankrupt over the agreement, but that if he were a business owner, he “would have to pass on that,” arguing that the city shouldn’t have to shoulder the entire cost of the project when there are three parties involved with Town Madison.
The rest of the Council reiterated that it was a long-term “win” for the city and voted to move forward with the project.