Scottsboro City Mayor Jim McCamy delivered the 2022 State of the City address on April 12, 2022 at the Goose Pond Civic Center. The mayor touched on many things concerning the city and began by thanking several people.
“Chairman Nance, thank you for joining us today. We have developed a true partnership and friendship between the City of Scottsboro and Jackson County. I have been involved in local government in one aspect or another for 40 years and have never experienced the level of cooperation that currently exists. We must maintain this high standard to be successful for the residents of Scottsboro and Jackson County.
Alabama State Senator Steve Livingston, thank you for joining us today, thank you for your friendship and your help and support with any and all aspects of state government.
We continue working to create partnerships throughout all levels of city government and supporting organizations as well as neighboring cities and counties. I’d like to recognize and welcome again Madison County Commission Chair Dale Strong. Dale has been a friend for many years. I’m sure everyone has heard about the potential industrial announcement in eastern Madison County. Chairman Strong has supported our efforts to understand the potential impacts this announcement will have on Jackson County.
We continue to have monthly partnership meetings among the city, the Chamber of Commerce, the EDA, Goose Pond Colony, the CDA, DRA, Main Street, IMPACT, Scottsboro Electric Power Board, and the Water, Sewer and Gas Board. Another significant partnership is between Scottsboro City Schools and Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC) in their Workforce Development Center. This will be a first-class, state-of-the-art facility that will facilitate business and industry’s training needs in the Northeast region.
I want to extend a sincere thank you to the three members of the Scottsboro Board of Education who voted to reinstall the historic marker on the grounds of the Paige Administration Building. Although the school property is not part of the College Hills District, it is a historic site, behind only the County Courthouse and Cedar Hill Cemetery.
I have also been asked about the status of our Local Election Bill. In 2021, the State Legislature passed legislation, moving municipal elections one year off the presidential cycle. Scottsboro and five other municipalities have local bills directing municipal elections. Senator Livingston had a local bill drafted, advertised and introduced. It passed out of the Senate and went to the House where Representative Tommy Hanes approved it, and Representative Ritchie Whorton refused to pass it. Scottsboro will now be on a different municipal election cycle from the rest of Jackson County.
I can’t overstate the importance of our employees. As we emerge from the pandemic and the impact it has had on everyone, we have looked at ways to help the recovery process. Last year, we were awarded $3.4 million in COVID relief funding. We received $1.7 million last July and expect to receive the balance in July of this year.
Our revenue looks like this: Sales tax for fiscal year 2021 | $12.2 million; sales tax for fiscal year 2022 | $6.6 million to date through March 31, 2022. That comes in as $995,000 above budgeted revenue.
In Lieu of Tax for fiscal year 2021 | $739,020. This represents a 53% decrease over the past 10 years.
Scottsboro’s bond rating is A+. This is the highest possible rating for a city our size. My thanks to City Accountant Rick Wheeler for his work.
The total budgeted revenue for fiscal year 2021 | $$22.8 million. For fiscal year 2022 | $24.6 million. That is a 7.94% increase.
Lodging tax for fiscal year 2021 was $591,000 with 2% to the Tourism Grant Fund, DRA, CDA and Mainstreet. The city provided $30,000 in tourism grants last year. For the fiscal year 2022, lodging tax came in at $198,274 for the first five months, ending on February 28, 2022.
In 2021, we had $4.3 million worth of expansions and 10 new jobs; however, several companies are looking to hire new employees with existing openings.
In June of last year, the Alabama League of Municipalities announced an Economic Development Academy Program. Our team is comprised of myself, City Council President Richard Bailey and Councilmember Mike Ashburn, EDA Director Nathan Lee and Roy Light. With that said, it is important to understand that every single one of us is here to play a part in Economic development.
For retail growth, this is a number we need to take special note of: 2020 | 11 projects at $1.9 million investment; 2021 | 26 projects at $34.5 million investment. Shops of Scottsboro is a contributing factor to that investment.
I said at the groundbreaking for Shops of Scottsboro that this would be a transformational development for Scottsboro and Jackson County. I still believe that to be true. There is a planned opening for October 18th of this year, and there will be a Publix, Pet Depot, TJ Maxx, Tidal Wave Car Wash and Cadence Bank.
We owe a huge thank you to Governor Ivey’s Director of Alabama Department of Economic Community Affairs (ADECA) Ken Boswell. We applied for and Ken Boswell awarded a $500,000 EDA grant through ADECA to fund the traffic signal and sewer extension for the Shops of Scottsboro.
We’re happy to have the Whataburger franchise owners, Aaron Milan and John Reno here with us today. I invited Aaron and John to join us for the groundbreaking for Shops of Scottsboro. Following the groundbreaking, Council President Richard Bailey invited them for a tour. We showed them several potential sites, including the old Number One China Buffet which fit their needs. They closed on the property on April 6th.
As far as the Safety Project and Highway 72 and County Park Road, when this project was bid last fall, it came in at over $400,000 the original estimate and what we had funding to support. Senator Livingston facilitated several meetings for us with ALDOT to find a path to complete this project.
Scottsboro came in with 15,578 residents on the new census that was taken. This is the first time Scottsboro has had a population over 15,000. So, where do we put the residents coming with this expected growth? For the 2020 calendar year, $11.5 million was invested in new homes. For 2021, $16.4 million was invested. New housing developments have been approved, and others are being planned with several on the agenda for the May Planning Commission meeting.
For the 2021 fiscal year, we requested, and Council approved, resurfacing 3.7 miles of city streets. This was an investment of over $745,000. First on the list for this year is County Park and Roseberry at a cost of $416,000. When these two projects are combined, that equals an infrastructure investment of $1.16 million by the City Council. Paving is scheduled to have begun this week.
We continue to develop our 2022 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 with the most need and adding adjacent streets as a package.
In 2019, the City of Scottsboro was awarded a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) through ADECA to remove blighted dilapidated structures within the city of Scottsboro. That projects was completed and closed last year, following the removal of some 25 structures. Following that initial grant, it is now time to take the effort to the next level.
One of the structures included in the program was the old Scottsboro Wholesale building at the corner of North Houston and Maple Avenue. In January, the City Council voted to surplus that property and make it available to the Boys and Girls Club of North Alabama. The Boys and Girls Club was looking to build a multi-purpose facility on that site. The additional space will allow the club to serve more children and large group activities in the areas of fitness, performing arts and STEM. Redstone Federal Credit Union has agreed to donate $350,000 for the project.
I will be seeking Council and community support to move forward with more aggressive actions to help clean up our city, to include abandoned houses, vehicles and trash. This will serve to improve the appearance of Scottsboro, enhance our opportunities for growth and is a general indicator of our quality of life.
A year ago I was introduced to Dr. John Kvach, Executive Director of the Singing River Trail (SRT). The SRT is now over 200 miles of greenways, connecting North Alabama from Bridgeport to the Mississippi state line. Additionally, John has introduced us to three retail opportunities and two tourism/recreation opportunities. Our initial was for Scottsboro to establish a greenway leg of the trail connecting downtown to Goose Pond Colony, that also includes Blue Way access to Roseberry Embayment. The Blue Way will support our connection to the Tennessee RiverLine (TRL).
Earlier this year, Scottsboro was accepted as a member of the TRL, along with Stevenson, Langston and Jackson County. TRL is a system of trail experiences that provide users with continuous access to the 652 mile river. It is a Blue Way, and the goal is to connect it with the SRT, which will provide endless recreational experiences and opportunities.
Jackson County is about to be added as the fourth county to Launch 2035, joining Madison, Limestone and Morgan counties. Launch 2035 is a regional partnership designed to re-think and imagine our regions’ economies by 2035, and SRT was borne out of that initiative.
Partnering with the Scottsboro Electric Power Board, we have added lighted crossing signs at Heroes Drive to enhance the safety of families and participants for sport activities, as well as the general public who uses our walking trail system from Caldwell Park to Bynum and Veteran fields. The City Council voted last month to add additional lighting to the walking trail at Bynum Park.
Chief Latimer and his officers continue to do an incredible job at keeping our city safe. Scottsboro Police Citizens Academy was restarted in March after a two-year absence. Additionally, SPD training officers are conducting a Women’s Firearm Safety Class, specifically for women, that covers the safe and proper handling of a firearm.
Fire Chief Gene Necklaus and his department continue to do a great job of fire prevention and suppression, as well as EMS support. The AV equipment is being updated for better access to online training. The department was also awarded a $20,000 federal grant to expand current efforts and develop a comprehensive behavioral health plan that will include various aspects of supporting our personnel. Peer support, family support, EAP, specialized clinicians, Chaplaincy and more are included in the plan.
We continue to ensure our city’s IT capabilities and security.
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. Thank you, Benny, for what you do.
Wayne Moore and his staff at the Street Department do an incredible job. In addition to routine drainage, debris clean up and mowing, they also reinstalled the cedar fence at Caldwell Park and rebuilt the sidewalk on Andrews Street.
A new grant request has been submitted that will enable us to expand our recycling to partner with other communities in the county.
The city invested $500,000 in the addition to the Scottsboro-Jackson Heritage Center that opened last fall. Jim Olyniec shepherded that project. Thank you, Jim.
Events and Marketing Coordinator Katie Kirkland has been very busy this past year. The Scottsboro Boys mural dedication was in March 2021. Main Street Scottsboro received an Award of Excellence in Placemaking at the State Main Street Conference for this mural. The first annual Salsa on the Square was very well received and was one of the most successful Trade Day events last year. Revitalization and coordination of Trade Days continues. Trade Days turns 120 years old this year. Main Street Scottsboro recently completed a lighting project that goes all the way around the square, showcasing the beauty of the stores and businesses.
Last September I was contacted by CGI Digital. CGI produces online video tours for municipal partners. We contracted with CGI to do a series of promotional videos about Scottsboro. They filmed the intro video in December and filmed some of the supporting clips in March. They will be back the first week of May to complete the final shoot. Thank you to the businesses, industries and churches that supported this effort financially and with their participation in the videos. These videos will give Scottsboro unprecedented exposure nationwide.
Thank you to COC staff and Chair Jim Jordan, Larry Bowen, Civic Center manager, Katie Kirkland, Chanda Bartlett, Clint Sebring, the City Council, department heads, city employees and my family.
In closing, now it’s time to take everything we’ve discussed and go 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 and 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.
The full version of Mayor McCamy’s State of the City address video can be found online at https://youtu.be/cUuk-2KxC1w.
by Martha Smith