MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — Unofficial results show Madison city residents voted Tuesday to keep the Mayor-Council format as their local form of government, according to city officials.
The special election gave residents at the polls two options for the format of their local government – the “mayor-council” structure, which is what the city currently has – and a “council-manager” structure.
Madison Mayor Paul Finley says, “I appreciate the group that pushed this for. They believe…there’s a lot of folks that believe in stronger government, but it also cost the city $70,000. I think we have made a mandate to stay like we are for a while. We’d struggle to do this again. Everybody believes strongly in making our government the best it can be, but not with this type of mandate. I can’t see it happening again anytime soon.”
The unofficial results of the poll were announced by the city around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night, and rough numbers show over 5,500 of the over 7,400 who showed up to the polls voted “NO” to changing the local government format.
This means the measure to transition to a council-manager form of government did not pass, and the Mayor will continue to serve as “CEO” and “face of the city”, while overseeing day-to-day operations, appointing department heads and presenting budgets to the council.
About 25% of residents who showed up at the polls voted “YES” to the measure.
The group, Don’t Mess with Madison, was against the change in government. Shema Rizo says their goal was to educate and inform as many people as possible on the council-manager form of governance.
“What was important to us is to educate and inform the citizens of what was happening. It’s such a drastic change. Every problem a city goes through…there are solutions without changing a form of government,” added Rizo.
Officials with the city say they will now canvas these numbers and collect any provisional ballots to verify the count, and the official results should be out at noon on May 16. Madison City will then send notice to state offices and the probate court.
Here is a basic breakdown of both government structures voted on Tuesday, provided by the City of Madison.
“The City of Madison was happy to see engaged citizens for this election. Our community voiced its opinion to continue operating under a Mayor-Council form of government. We have a proven track record of success with this form of government, and we have managed growth and numerous projects for long-term progress,” said Finley. “Your elected officials will continue to work hard for quality of life in Madison. Whichever way you cast your vote, as Council and Mayor, we are encouraged in our community’s involvement with municipal government.”
After the results were announced, Mayor Finley spoke to the media. He said he was very impressed with the number of people who showed up at the polls Tuesday. He hopes people will stay involved in their local government, and join them at their next work session.
Polls opened at at 7:00 a.m. and closed at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday.