By Tia Lynn Ivey
In preparation for the upcoming budget creation for a new fiscal year, the Madison Mayor and City Council held its annual retreat Monday morning to brainstorm ideas and set goals for the next year.
Among the City’s top priorities include installing new sidewalks, organizing trash cleanup efforts, beautifying the City’s entryways, ramping up enforcement of the City’s noise ordinance and evaluating stormwater needs throughout the city.
Councilwoman Chris Hodges stressed the need to expand clean-up efforts throughout the City.
“Littering is a real problem. There is just so much trash and people seem to be littering more than ever,” said Hodges.
The council plans to reach out to community groups to encourage volunteer trash pick-up events to clean up various areas of the city.
The council is also identifying neighborhood roads in need of sidewalks. The city has allotted $50,000 a year to install new sidewalks throughout the city, hoping to enhance safety for pedestrians navigating their way through town. Councilwoman Carrie Peters-Reid expressed the need for more lighting outside of the Recreation Department as a safety concern. Councilman DiLetto asked the council to explore stormwater improvements, specifically on Belmont Street, for the upcoming fiscal year. Madison Mayor Fred Perriman asked the planning staff to look into annexing neighborhoods on the edge of the city into Madison to better streamline city services, specifically the county side of Bethany Road, from Sun Trust Bank to the Bypass.
Hodges wants to see the City initiate more tree and flower plantings, as well as putting up holiday decorations in the City.
“I want us to start being really aggressive about tree planting and flower planting,” said Hodges. “Those are the kinds of things that make us who we are.”
The council also discussed increasing the salaries for the mayor and council members, since the rates have not been increased since the mid-1990s. Currently, the Mayor Fred Perriman earns $8,400 per year, mayor pro-tem, Councilman Rick Blanton, earns $6,000 per year, and the other council members earn $5,400.
City Manager David Nunn is looking into an appropriate rate to propose for increased salaries to discuss at future meetings.