Madison City Commission Holds April MeetingApr 15th, 2013 | By Lynette | Category: Community News, Front Page
“We’re undoing what our foremothers did 175 years ago,” Jessica Webb, a member of the 175th Anniversary Planning Committee, told the City Commissioners at their April 9 meeting.
Webb, one of several people who addressed the Commission Tuesday night, was referring to a proposed street art project to help celebrate and promote Madison’s 175th Anniversary – putting pigs in the streets.
Actually, in the right-of-ways next to the streets.
In the 1800s, when Madison was an even smaller rural town, it was common to see livestock, especially pigs, roaming the dirt streets downtown. They can still be seen in surviving photographs from that era. One of the first projects the ladies of the town undertook was appealing to city officials to get the pigs off the streets.
Now, the pigs are coming back…as art.
Taking a cue from Chicago’s Cows-On Parade Art Exhibit (see www.chicagotraveler.com/cows_on_parade) the Planning Committee is proposing a contest for local artists to sculpt, mold, hew, whittle or otherwise create life-sized pig statues and paint or decorate them. The pigs should be able to withstand outdoor weather for roughly four months during the summer, while they are on display around town, and will need to be chained to lampposts for the duration so that they don’t “wander off.” Artists will need to install a metal grommet somewhere on the statues and provide locks. The art project will promoted as part of Madison’s 175th Anniversary and individual pigs will also be judged on artistic merit.
The City Commission voted to approve the pig art. For more information on entering the contest, contact the Chamber of Commerce at (850) 973-2788.
The Commissioners also heard from County Commissioner Ronnie Moore, who is also a member of the Transportation Disadvantaged Committee. Moore appeared on behalf of the Madison In-Town Shuttle operated by Big Bend Transit, which needs about $24,000 to fill in a yearlong gap in funding from grants and other sources. The current funding runs out this month. The city authorized $5000 to go toward keeping the shuttle in operation, contingent upon the County Commission agreeing to kick in another $5000 or greater. Moore has been asking around already, and plans to speak to the County Commission and several other groups as well about contributions to keep the shuttle going. “It doesn’t hurt to ask,” he said.
Police Chief Gary Calhoun updated the Commission on the second floor renovations of the Police Department Building, funded by a $500,000 USDA grant/loan. The department hopes to cut costs by $100,000 if the USDA approves an ADA-compliant vertical lift device instead of a far more costly elevator for reaching the second floor.
Calhoun is also checking on the cost of having a traffic engineer do a study to see where golf cart crossings could safely be put on streets around town. The second-hand golf carts would be used on the job by meter readers and other city utility employees to cut fuel consumption costs. Each crossing site must meet several criteria, and how many crossings the city can install will depend on the cost of the required study.
The city also approved some revisions to its vehicle use policy to address some concerns by the city’s insurance carrier. The new policy is more comprehensive and up-to-date and the insurance company is happy with the changes.
The City’s utility billing system has made the transition from Night Owl to Continental Utility Solutions, Inc. (CUSI). It is a major transition that “will bring us at least into the late 20th century,” said City Manager Tim Bennett. The new system is more efficient and updated, but customers still can’t pay online, at least not yet. City Clerk Lee Anne Hall explained that this would be a large expense that would have to be passed on to the consumer, and right now, the city’s priorities are providing better services while keeping rates as low as possible.
The City Commissioners also got a big “Thank You” presentation from the AKA Sorority, Nu Omega Omega Chapter, for the help they provided the organization with its South Atlantic District 4 Meeting last year.
Contributions helped the group put on a big welcome and reception at Yogi Bear Park for the gathering of AKA chapters in District 4, and the event made such an impression on the visitors, it was written up in the organization’s international sorority magazine, mentioning the town of Madison and its Yogi Bear Campground by name. Deloris Jones read the except aloud to the commission and the group serenaded the commission with “We Can’t Stop Loving You.”
They also presented Mayor Rayne Cooks, City Manager Tim Bennett, and Commissioners Ina Thompson, Judy Townsend, Jim Catron and Jim Stanley with a plaque of appreciation. Mayor Cooks accept on behalf of the commission.