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Madison city commission: Medical marijuana moratorium imposed

Nancy Taylor: Greene Publishing, Inc.

The Madison City Commission met for the April meeting on Tuesday, April 11. One of the major items of business on the agenda was the final reading and vote on Ordinance 2017-1, which would impose a temporary moratorium on the establishment of marijuana dispensaries so that a study can be conducted in order to determine guidelines and regulations needed for such businesses. The motion to approve the ordinance passed unanimously.

Brian Kauffman, Madison County Coordinator, spoke to the commission concerning the county’s fire assessment fee study. He also addressed the shortage of volunteer firefighters. There was a special workshop on Thursday, April 20, to discuss the fire assessment fee study, as well as ways to increase the number of volunteer firefighters.

Other business items discussed during the meeting included vacancies on the Planning and Zoning Board, as well as the Code Enforcement Board.  City Manager Tim Bennett also updated the commission on current projects involving Code Enforcement and Infrastructure/Construction.

Commissioner Catron reported on the status of the Southern Rail Commission’s efforts to return passenger rail service to the Gulf Coast.

Commissioner Thompson spoke of concerns regarding noise problems within the city. She stated that she had received several complaints from citizens residing in her district. Police Chief Alexander, who was present at the meeting, responded to her concerns stating there must be the will to prosecute the ordinance in order to truly enforce and deter such issues. Such cases also must have victims and/or witnesses who are willing to testify. However, Chief Alexander assured the commission that his officers would continue to do all they can to ensure peace within the city.

Chief Alexander also updated the commission on the acquisition of five new police cars for the department through a five-year lease program. This brings the total fleet up to nine marked vehicles. The process of obtaining these vehicles took approximately one year. During that time, the four marked cars utilized by the officers were being used 24/7. Therefore, since the arrival of the new cars, the four original cars have required some extra servicing to bring them “back up to efficiency,” stated Alexander.

Mayor Cooks asked Chief Alexander to have his department provide regular patrolling of the Sumpter A. James, Jr. Park. Cooks stated concerns about unauthorized use of the park. City Manager Bennett stated that he would create a more organized (formal) process for requesting use of the park.

Seeing as there was no further business, the commission meeting was adjourned.

The next regular meeting of the commission will take place on Tuesday, May 9 at 5:30 p.m. in commission chambers of Madison City Hall.

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