Dale Strong Hopeful in First State of the County Address as Commission Chairman
Chairman Strong said with a highly educated and technical workforce Madison County is perfectly positioned for the days ahead.
"Today is motivation," said Strong of his address, "We are watching as companies are expanding here in Madison County, watching as more than $82 million in ATRIP monies are being spent right here in Madison County. A very technical workforce; this is where some 340,000 people have chosen to live, work, play, raise their families but I still believe Madison County's best days are on the horizon."
Strong says one major objective he had right out of the gate as commission chairman was to get the county's financial house in order. He says this has been done by creative restructuring and an endeavor to do more with less.
"We've gone to the bond market, we've refinanced some bonds from a 4% rate to a 1.34% rate saving tax payers a lot of money."
Strong says change is often difficult, but that is what it has taken to move toward continued success. He says with Madison County it's who you are and who you know. Strong says fostering partnerships and relationships within and outside Madison County is essential to future growth.
"Our commission understands the objective - I think that's essential - I think with building the relationships with not only Montgomery but also Washington, people here are soon to benefit greatly because of those relationships."
Strong says the successes in county finances, including securing $85 million dollars for roads in his first 11 months as chairman, has allowed for even more investment in employees, economic development and transportation initiatives.
While Strong's speech was hyper focused on local economic development, we asked him how the unrest in our nation's capital was effecting Madison County's endeavor to grow.
"Our economy will greatly benefit from some stabilization in Washington."
Strong says while he's not pointing any fingers, he believes the uncertainty in Washington, D.C. has held Madison County back. But Strong cited two major companies who have announced expansions just within the past 10 days here in Madison County; those being the Wyle/CAS family and Davidson Technologies. Strong says Madison County is still positioned for greatness and growth.
"You can do business right here in Madison County, Alabama 20 to 30% cheaper than you can in New York, California and many other states throughout this country," says Strong. "We are right where we need to be. We've got roads, we've got rail, we've got second longest runway in the southeast United States right here at Huntsville International, and those are the things we've got to do a better job of selling."
Strong says the new commission in place is like a breath of fresh air. He says commissioners are not afraid to push the boundaries and try new things in the interest of expansion and growth.
"It's about growing an economy - commercial, retail - and when we grow Madison County we all benefit," Strong concluded.