MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — It’s up to the residents in the City of Madison to decide whether the city will transition from a mayor-council form of governance to a council-manager format.

“It’s taken since the 90’s for this to come up several times until finally there’s a state law that allows it to happen…and there’s interest,” Madison resident Marc Jacobson said. “This is a very intelligent community. I truly believe people will go out and do their due diligence, do their research, figure out what’s true and what’s not, and see the benefits.”

A special election is now on the city’s calendar after community organization Madison Forward submitted a petition to change the governing format of the city. This would leave the mayor as the face of the town and the president of the city council.

A city manager would then be put in charge to handle its daily operations, carrying out the vision of the mayor and the city council.

Jacobson was elected to serve on the city council in the 90’s. He tells News 19 that he’s all for the council-manager format.

“It’s always a challenge to keep up with infrastructure and the needs of people moving into the city,” he said. “Professional management can help drive that and make sure we’re doing the right things. We still have a mayor, and we still have a council who are elected – it doesn’t take power away or give it to anyone.”

Don’t Mess with Madison PAC has been opposed to the city’s proposal of a council-appointed city manager. The group held a public meeting Monday night.  

“We won’t have separation of powers, it’s going to create a new un-elected bureaucracy, and the citizens lose their right to vote for who runs the city,” said Madison resident Kathy Patrick.

Patrick tells News 19 the purpose of this meeting is for residents in the city to learn about the transition and what it could mean for them.

The group plans to host more meetings before the election on May 9th.

“We felt that somebody needed to get this education and this information out to the voters, so that’s why we’re here. We’re trying to give voters the opportunity to see the other side that the city did not present,” added Patrick. 

The special will be held on May 9 from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.