MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – A date is now set for voters in the City of Madison to decide its form of government.

The special election will be held on May 9. Voters will use their regular local election polling places, which will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

This decision has been years in the making but it is one step closer, and voters have petitioned this from the outset. 

“We believe that the city management proposal will disenfranchise voters and it will take away the right of citizens to vote on the person who runs our city,” said Tiffany Knox of Madison.

The city has published a frequently asked questions page as well as informational graphics on its website to help residents make an informed decision on the subject in time for the vote. On Monday, an agreement on the language of the referendum was approved by the magistrate judge.

The City of Madison could transition from a Mayor-Council format to a Council-Manager format. This would make the mayor a member of the Madison City Council, and a City Manager would be hired to handle the day-to-day operations of the city. This would include appointing and removing department heads and presenting a budget to the council.

The mayor would sit on the council as the “voice” and “face” of the community. Mayor Finley however says that he trusts that the citizens of Madison will make the right choice on who runs their government.

“In Madison’s case in multiple times that I’ve been in this community when a vote comes up both sides step up and give their opinion and each and every time I’ve seen the right decision made,” Finley explained. “In each case our community is a smart community if you give them the information, they make educated and good decisions.” 

If the measure is passed, the city would also transition to having six voting districts for the council instead of the seven it currently has.

“I guess from their standpoint if the people were to elect a mayor that didn’t get along with the council people, then it would benefit them that they can choose who’s going to run the city versus the people,” said Kathy Patrick from the organization Don’t Mess With Madison has filed a petition to Probate Judge Frank Barger.

If the transition is approved, the city will have until 2025 to complete it.

Residents looking for more information can also visit here.