McCamy delivers State of City address

From Scottsboro Mayor Jim McCamy:“Thank you, Holland, Alex and Tori for the National Anthem. We are blessed with incredible talent among our students here.

County Commission Chair Bill Nance, thank you for joining us today and for leading the Pledge of Allegiance. I appreciate your leadership, partnership and friendship. We must maintain this high standard to be successful for the residents of Scottsboro and Jackson County.

Reverend Polly Robb, thank you for the heartfelt invocation and for being with us this morning.

Thank you, Scottsboro Electric Power Board and Manager Phillip Chaney and Scottsboro Water, Sewer and Gas Board and Manager Jimmy Green for supporting us as presenting sponsors for this event. I also want to thank you both for your efforts during the extreme cold at Christmas. Both of your departments went above and beyond during this incident.

Phillip, I appreciate your excellent communication and updates as you and your team worked to reduce the impact of the TVA-directed rolling blackouts.

Jimmy, thank you for you and your team’s efforts to keep the water flowing in Scottsboro as well as your support of other water systems in parts of Jackson County to ensure their systems were full and functional. Both of you had crews working through Christmas.

Chamber of Commerce staff and Chamber Chair Jim Barclay, thank you for coordinating, managing and publicizing our event this morning.

Thank you to Larry Bowen, Manager of the Civic Center for directing the setup.

Special thanks to Katie Kirkland, Chanda Bartlett and Clint Sebring for their assistance in creating, setting up and producing today’s presentation.

City Council, thank you. Without your commitment and engagement to help improve Scottsboro, we would not have been able to make the progress and accomplish the objectives we did last year, and those objectives we hope to accomplish in the coming year.

City Attorney Steve Kennamer, thank you for your close counsel and guidance and helping to ensure we continue to comply with all legal and procedural guidance.

Department heads, thank you for what you do every day to ensure our objectives and efforts are met to provide the best services to our citizens.

To our city employees, thank you for your work and dedication to the City of Scottsboro. I can’t overstate the importance and value of our employees. They have continued to be on the job and serve the city and residents for the past three years as we dealt with – and emerged from – the COVID pandemic.

And to my family, thank you for your support and understanding as we go through this exciting journey to help improve our city and increase our opportunities for everyone. I absolutely couldn’t do it without you.

Alabama State Senator Steve Livingston and State Representative Mike Kirkland are both in session in Montgomery and couldn’t be with us today. I appreciate their leadership, friendship and their help and support with any and all aspects of state government. They are both assets to North Alabama, and we are excited about the possibilities with them as our delegation and look forward to working with them.

Today, I want to review accomplishments from last year and what we hope to accomplish this year.  I have, and will continue to advocate communication, collaboration and cooperation.

To support that, we continue working to create and enhance partnerships throughout all levels of city government, and supporting organizations, as well as neighboring cities and counties.  We have continued to conduct monthly partnership meetings among the city, the chamber of commerce, the economic development authority, goose pond colony, the commercial development authority, downtown redevelopment authority, main street, impact, Scottsboro electric power board, the water, sewer and gas board.

We added the Scottsboro Board of Education and Huntsville Hospital/Highlands Medical Center in 2022.

We work closely with Huntsville Hospital/Highlands Medical Center as they continue to improve facilities and provide excellent health care in Scottsboro and Jackson County. As a result of the affiliation with Huntsville Hospital, they have also become a significant economic development recruiting tool for our area.

Ashley Pool, congratulations on your selection as president of HH Highlands Medical Center, and thank you for your collaboration and partnership. We are pleased to have you and your husband, Dr. Tracy Pool in Scottsboro, and thank you for joining us this morning.

We also partner with the Scottsboro Board of Education. We worked closely with the Board of Education to conduct the ad valorum renewal referendum on February 28th of this year. This referendum continued the property tax dedicated to schools and our kids, that has been in place since 1954, and essentially established the Scottsboro City School system. Additionally, we supported their request for a new bond issue to support classroom addition and expansion at Caldwell Elementary School and to provide facility upgrades at Scottsboro High School.

I was contacted by Mr. Jason Lombard with Redstone Federal Credit Union last year regarding a banking initiative Redstone was interested in implementing in an area high school. We helped connect and facilitate a partnership between SHS and Redstone Federal Credit Union to locate a branch in SHS. This will support classes in financial literacy, and students will actually be in charge of the daily operations of the branch under the direction of a math teacher.

Jason, thank you for being here today.

Superintendent Childress, congratulations on the public signing of an education partnership agreement with the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command this past Monday. This partnership will help provide career technical education courses for students in advanced manufacturing, subtractive manufacturing, cybersecurity, and aerospace engineering. We are very excited about the opportunities this will open to our students. This also has the potential to open up and enhance the existing partnership and collaboration among the city and county boards of education and Northeast Alabama Community College.

We have seen significant growth in our school system in the past year. Scottsboro City Schools have enrolled 136 students since Aug 4, 2022. Over 30%, or 40, of these new students came from eight different states.

Superintendent Amy Childress, thank you for your work to improve academic excellence for our students and for being here this morning.

Another significant partnership is with Northeast Alabama Community College. We have worked with Northeast through the Scottsboro Industrial Development Board (IDB) and the Jackson County Economic Development Authority (EDA) to provide a location and facilities for Northeast state’s commercial driver license (CDL) truck driving program training facility.

We continue to work with the IDB, EDA, and Northeast to identify additional efforts and facilities that will enhance this program.

We are extremely excited about the new workforce development center at northeast. This will be a first class, state-of-the-art, $26million facility, that will support business and industry’s workforce training needs in the northeast Alabama region and further enhance the dual enrollment possibilities for our students. They anticipate a ground breaking in late spring/early summer.

Dr. David Campbell, thank you for your work and vision at Northeast State Community College, and thank you for joining us this morning.

The City Council has managed your tax dollars very well, and with the guidance of Finance Director Rick Wheeler, I am happy to report the City of Scottsboro is in sound financial condition. Even as difficult as the past three years of COVID have been with shutdowns, supply chain issues and employment challenges, we have come out of this stronger.

As we emerged from the pandemic and the impact it had on everyone, we had to look at ways to help the recovery process. The City Council made much deserved across the board salary increases for all city employees to enable us to compete with other municipalities and employers.

Our 2022 city revenue looks like this:

Sales Tax | fy-22 up to $13.6million | from $12.2million in fy-21 | an increase of 11.4%

Property Tax | fy-22 up to $1.63million | from $1.36million in fy-21 | an increase of 19.85%

Business License | fy-22 up to $1.36million | from $1.05 million in fy-21 | an increase of 29.52%

TVA in Lieu of Tax |  fy-22 up to $796,575 | from $739,020 in fy-21 | representing an 8% increase from 2021. However, this is following a 53% decrease over the previous 10 years.

Garbage Collection | fy22 $3.9million | level from fy-21

Salary/Benefits | fy-22 up to $15.12million | from $14.17million fy 21 | increase of 1.07%

Lodging Tax | fy-22 up to $537,000 | from $504,000 fy-21 | increase of 6.55% | 20% goes to Tourism Grant Fund, DRA, CDA, Mainstreet | City provided $41k in tourism grants in fy22

Total Budgeted Revenue | fy-22 up to $24.6million | from $22.8million in fy-21 | increase of 7.89%

We continued to maintain an A+ bond rating; this is the highest possible rating for a city our size.

Economic Development

I know you have heard me say this before, but one of the first rules in economic development is to take care of your existing industries first, and we take this rule very seriously. 80-85% of job growth for industrial jobs comes from existing industries. Jackson County Economic Development Authority (EDA) and the Scottsboro Industrial Development Board (IDB) continue to provide incredible support to existing industries as they work to support expansions as well as recruit new industries.

In fy-22 we had $46.8million worth of capital investment from existing industries. Additionally, there are several local industries with planned expansions and companies looking to hire new employees with existing openings.

2023 is poised to be a great year. The IDB approved plans for a $2.2million, 30,000 square feet warehouse addition creating eight new jobs in the Scottsboro Industrial Park that is now complete. CFD Research relocated from Goose Pond to the Scottsboro Section of the Jackson County Industrial Park in 2021. CFD has been open in their new facility just over a year and already has an expansion underway utilizing an additional 63 acres of space in the park that will be complete this year.

Sameer Singhal, thank you for investing in Scottsboro and Jackson County and for being with us this morning.

In June of 2021, the Alabama League of Municipalities announced an Economic Development Academy Pilot Program. We applied and were accepted along with 29 other municipalities from across the state. Our team was comprised of city council members Richard Bailey and Mike Ashburn, EDA Director Nathan Lee, IDB Boardmember Roy Light and myself. We successfully completed the academy in 2022, and are considering the opportunity to participate in year-two.

With that said, and I will continue to hammer this point home, every single one of us here plays a part in economic development; I can’t overstate that fact. Whether it is industrial or retail, prospects evaluate potential locations. They come in to our community and drive our streets, talk with residents and employees in restaurants, convenience stores, read our newspapers and monitor Facebook. They know everything about our community before we know they are interested or even looking at us. The image we project, both visually and personally, says everything about our community and can be a deciding factor on location decisions.

We continued to improve our infrastructure in 2022. In 2021, we were awarded $3.4million in American Rescue Plan Act or ARPA funding. We received $1.7million in July 2021 and received the balance in July of 2022. One of the approved uses for this funding was infrastructure. Last summer I requested, and City Council approved, $1.6million for water system improvements in the form of a 16-inch water main targeting future residential, commercial and industrial growth.

Scottsboro WSG is currently installing this line along Crawford Road from Highway 35 to U.S. 72. This will be a significant addition to our industrial recruiting ability.

One of the first contacts visitors can have is at the Scottsboro Municipal Airport. We are proud and fortunate to have the facilities we have at Scottsboro Municipal Airport/Word Field. Our airport serves as a significant economic development recruiting tool as well as for general aviation.

J.B. Sandlin is doing a great job for our community as Airport Manager.

In 2022, we added 5.38 acres of property to the airport site, and we continue to work with the Airport Advisory Board toward additional property acquisition to provide more functional space for the airport. We have also taken steps to improve the appearance of the terminal and continue to seek grants to further improve the runway and the ramp. Martin Aviation is the tenant in the maintenance hangar, and their business continues to grow.

We had significant retail growth in 2022. New retail in 2022 brought 32 new projects totaling a $17.3million investment. 52 remodel projects totaling $8.3million.

Shops of Scottsboro is the main contributing factor to that initial investment. Since opening in November of 2022 the businesses in shops continue to exceed revenue projections. I said at both the groundbreaking and ribbon cutting for shops this would be a transformational development for Scottsboro and Jackson County; that is proving to be true.

Since the announcement of Shops of Scottsboro, Starbucks has opened and is thriving. High Country Toyota has relocated and is open and thriving. The new Whataburger is up and moving toward a late spring/early summer opening date.

Chaundra Lancaster, Marketing & Systems Coordinator is here this morning. Dunkin Donuts has received site approval from the Planning Commission. Chik-fil-A began site demolition and pad work on March 6th with a projected opening of late summer/early fall.

We are happy to have Chik-fil-A franchisee Beth Monroe and Chik-fil-A Developer John McCleskey with us this morning.

Beth and John, thank you both for investing in Scottsboro and Jackson County and for being here this morning.

As a result of this retail growth, we are happy to report to you an increase of over 450 new and announced jobs for Scottsboro and Jackson County.  We owe a huge thank you to Governor Ivey’s Director of Alabama Department of Economic and Community affairs (ADECA) Ken Boswell. We requested funding assistance for the intersection upgrade on Highway 35 at the Chik-fil-A site. Director Boswell has approved a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for this project that will be starting soon.

Our retail recruiting firm, Retail Strategies, continues to sell Scottsboro. They have been actively communicating and promoting our city. They recently informed us of numerous inquiries regarding vacant buildings as well as building space for a full-service restaurant, four fast casual restaurants, a couple of big box retailers and an additional hotel.

You couldn’t miss all the transportation projects completed and underway in the past year. In fy-22, we requested, and City Council approved, significant resurfacing projects. County Park Road and Roseberry and Bob Jones and Anderson Road were completed at a cost of $869,562.

We continue to develop our 2023 resurfacing plan working with WSG and their planned projects and grant applications. We are following the same process looking at major collectors and high traffic areas with the most need and adding adjacent streets as a package.

The Safety Project at Highway 72 & County Park Road continues to progress with a cost of over $4million, which includes over $3million in funding from an ATRIP II grant and a safety grant.

Expected completion is early to mid-summer. We ask for your continued patience as work continues to make that intersection safer and more functional. This is a critical element in managing future safety and traffic load on Highway 72.

Working with City Engineer Josh Little, we have transportation infrastructure projects that will be starting soon. Micah Way to Byron Road frontage road extension site design is in process. This will continue frontage road access and support site development for Citizens Bank.

I offer a special thank you to the leadership and congregation at Trinity Baptist Church. This extension would not have been possible without their cooperation for an easement to allow functional alignment across their property to Byron Road.

I’ve already mentioned the project at Highway 35 and Micah way | Chik-fil-A. This will significantly improve access to Micah Way and Chik-fil-A. These projects are estimated to cost approximately $1.5million and will support new retail growth as well as traffic flow in Scottsboro.

Earlier I mentioned the 16-inch water main project on Crawford Road. Once that is complete, Crawford Road will be resurfaced to include an improvement to the intersection of Crawford Road and Alabama Highway 35 at an estimated cost of $650,000. We applied for, and were awarded, a $250,000 Rebuild Alabama grant from ALDOT to assist with this work.

Senator Livingston played a significant role in helping secure this Rebuild Alabama grant.

So, where is the housing for the residents coming with this expected growth?

New residential | 2022 | 61 new homes with a $18.2million investment. There were also 102 remodel projects totaling $2.3million investment.

New housing developments have been proposed including one planned to provide up to 80 single-family homes. There is also a development on Snodgrass Road with eight new single-family homes with more single-family homes as well as apartments planned. Crawford Road apartment development with 56 units is under construction. These will be a good start toward addressing our need for new housing.

We are moving forward with our efforts to improve our city. In 2019, the City of Scottsboro was awarded a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) through ADECA to remove blighted and dilapidated structures within the city of Scottsboro. We completed that project and closed it in 2021 following the removal of some 25 structures. Last year we applied for, and were awarded, another $400,000 grant to continue our cleanup efforts. We developed a list of some 40 structures that we are targeting for removal and are in the process of contacting property owners of the first 20 structures for their approval to move forward with removal.

Also, we are implementing more aggressive actions to help clean up our city, to include abandoned houses, vehicles and trash.

Thanks to Councilmember Nita Tolliver for championing a Sparkle and Shine Initiative planned for this spring. Stay tuned for more specifics.

All of these efforts will serve to improve the appearance of Scottsboro, enhance our opportunities for growth and is a general indicator of our quality of life.

Scottsboro is currently a part of several regional and multi-state programs and projects. Dr. John Kvach, Executive Director of the Singing River Trail, continues to work tirelessly to establish trail opportunities in North Alabama.

John has recently brought Anna Clem on as Associate Director, and Anna is here with us today. Anna, thank you for being with us this morning. The Singing River Trail will be over 200 miles of greenways, connecting North Alabama from Bridgeport to the Mississippi state line. This is truly a regional partnership.

Our initial goal for the SRT, is to establish a greenway leg of the trail connecting downtown Scottsboro to Goose Pond Colony, that also includes blue way access to Roseberry embayment.  This will provide much sought-after outdoor walking and biking opportunities that have become critically important for our quality of life. The blue way access will support our connection to the Tennessee Riverline.

Last year, the City of Scottsboro was accepted as a member of Tennessee Riverline, along with the city of Stevenson, the town of Langston, and Jackson County.  Tennessee Riverline is a system of blue way trail experiences that will provide users with continuous access to the 652-mile Tennessee River. The goal is to connect it with the Singing River Trail, providing endless recreational experiences and opportunities.

Also, last year Jackson County was added as the fourth county to launch 2035, joining Madison, Limestone and Morgan counties. Launch 2035 is a regional partnership designed to rethink and imagine our regions’ economies by 2035, and SRT was borne out of that initiative.

We continue to work with the Scottsboro Boys Museum Board to help improve their museum. Congratulations to Dr. Tom Reidy and the Scottsboro Boys Museum Board for the work they have done, and are continuing to do. We look forward to Governor Ivey’s planned visit here tomorrow to help observe the 92nd  anniversary of the Scottsboro Boys’ arrest.

Goose Pond Colony continues to be one of our largest recreational assets and attractions. Fishing tournaments have started for this year and continue to grow in both size and number. Lake Course Greens project started in June 2022 and was complete in October 2022, representing an investment of just under a million dollars to complete.  Goose Pond has added an additional 67 acres adjacent to the existing campground that is not impacted or restricted by TVA land-use covenants. Goose Pond Board also bought a harvester to address the eel grass in the Goose Pond area. This will help clear and maintain the areas around the marina.

Scottsboro is blessed with very capable city departments. Our Recreation Department is bringing more basketball tournaments, as well as an increase in baseball and softball tournaments for 2023. Our city will host 3-4 multi day regional/state tournaments this summer.

Partnering with the Scottsboro Electric Power Board, we added lighted crossing signs at Heroes Drive to enhance the safety of families and participants for sports activities, as well as the general public who uses our walking trail system from Caldwell Park to Bynum and Veterans Fields. The City Council approved additional lighting to the walking trail at Bynum Park which is in place, and additional lighting for Caldwell Park which is under design.

Last year, the City Council approved ARPA funding for a six-court pickleball complex. Work started in 2022 and will be completed this summer. This will be a great addition to our recreation complex.

Chief Latimer and his officers continue to do an incredible job of keeping our city safe. I want to recognize Captain Zackie Gant and Officer Kris Roney. Captain Gant and Officer Roney demonstrated courage and professionalism with their swift actions and saved a life that may have otherwise been lost. They both received the Life-Saving Award as a result of their life-saving actions on November 7, 2022.

Scottsboro Police Citizens Academy was re-started in March of 2022 after a two-year absence as a result of COVID.

As most everyone is aware, the Jackson County E-911 public safety answering point is housed and staffed at the Scottsboro Police Department and serves all of Jackson County. In fy-22, through a cooperative agreement with the city, county, 911 Board, and the Volunteer Fire Association, we started the process of moving to a new computer-aided dispatch (CAD) software for E-911 that will more effectively serve the citizens of Scottsboro and Jackson County. This has been a long time coming, and I thank all agencies involved in this significant system upgrade.

Fire Chief Gene Necklaus and his department do a great job of being proactive in fire prevention, reducing the risk to citizens through fire code inspections and plan reviews for existing and new businesses. They continue to partner with Red Cross and the Alabama Fire College to provide smoke alarms to our citizens with the installation of over 650 smoke alarms at no cost to taxpayers. Our firefighters completed over 5,700 hours of continuing education and training including adding 25 state certifications.

Our IT Director, Clint Sebring continues to ensure our city’s IT capabilities and security. We launched a more user-friendly version of the city website last year. As a result, our website traffic has more than doubled while enabling residents to apply for business licenses and building permits online. Thanks to Clint Sebring – for those of us who are technologically-challenged, he keeps us functioning.

Benny Bell and his team at Cedar Hill Cemetery are tasked with maintaining the cemetery, and they continue to perform a tremendous service to our community as they deal with our families in the most difficult times. We have recently opened three new sections of the cemetery with one of these new sections designated for mausoleum options. Thank you, Benny, for what you and your crew do.

At the Street Department, Wayne Moore and his staff do an incredible job. In addition to sidewalk repair/replacement, routine drainage, debris cleanup and mowing, they keep the square clean along with all the street edges and gutters. In 2022, we added two new knuckle booms and a tri-axle dump truck for an investment of $541,000.

We really appreciate the job Stacy Ledwell and his crew do in the sanitation dept. Recycling for 2022 processed 1500 tons or 3million pounds of recyclables and sold on monthly bids totaling $242,000. New landfill equipment investment was $1.9mm for 2022.

Under the direction of Katie Kirkland, Main Street had another successful year as we celebrated 120 years of Trade Day. Starting in 1902, Trade Day is one of the oldest vendor events in the Southeast and the oldest tradition in Scottsboro.

At the Main Street Alabama conference, our Scottsboro Mainstreet received three awards of excellence; Excellence in Planning and Public Space; Excellence in Preservation; and Excellence in Promotion. Congratulations to Katie and the Mainstreet Board.

In closing, thank you all for your time and participation this morning. I hope I have effectively communicated and described the partnerships that exist, are required and their importance in moving Scottsboro forward. Now it’s time to take these successes to the next level.

I’ve delivered a lot of positive information today, but along with that, there will continue to be challenges. We will continue to meet those challenges through communication, collaboration, cooperation and solid partnerships.

I am deeply humbled and appreciative to each one of you for allowing me to represent you as your mayor. I ask for your continued prayers and support as we continue to pursue quality retail and industrial growth that provide quality jobs for our present and future residents. Thank you all. May God bless you, and may God bless Scottsboro, Alabama!”


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