A battle over taxpayer dollars may be brewing in the city of Madison, and Madison County as well. The revelation came during Thursday night's State of the City Address.
Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler says she's just standing up for her residents, but she had strong opinions concerning recent moves by the developer of the Lost Rabbit community and the county's Board of Supervisors.
"The city will not be asked to give any city tax dollars," said Mayor Butler. "But you have to remember our citizens pay county taxes and there will be what's called a bailout."
It'll help them get Lost Rabbit out of debt, but to do so, Madison taxpayers will have to foot at least some of the bill.
"If that happens, we'd better make sure we know what we're getting," the mayor added.
Mayor Hawkins-Butler says they need to know before bonds are issued what the zoning of this new development will be, what the design will be and whether apartments will still be included in the plans?
Her reasoning: the city may one day annex that land. But even if they don't, zoning control would fall to a developer instead of Madison or the Pearl River Valley District, which has jurisdiction there.
Many residents at tonight's State of the City meeting say they agree, mostly on the issue of taxpayer dollars.
There's the issue of coverage from Madison's area.
"There's a lot of concern in Madison here that who's going to provide fire protection to all these residents out there that now are in a community that's going broke," said Madison Organization of Neighborhood Associations Chairman Carl Crawford."
"We've got a lot of things we've got to watch out for," added the Mayor. "The devil's in the details.
They say they also have police protection concerns. Would the Pearl River Valley District be able to handle an influx of people in apartments and smaller housing?
Mayor Hawkins-Butler said she asked to see plans, asked various design concerns, and was told not to worry about it by the attorney for the county's board of supervisors.
She says she's learned the county will put up $5 million to Allstate and 7.5 mills will go to pay the bond the county would issue for that $5 million.
The supervisors will meet Monday to discuss the issue.
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