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Displaying items by tag: government - Druid City Living, Tuscaloosa's premier community newspaper. - Druid City Living, Tuscaloosa's premier community newspaper. http://druidcityliving.com Thu, 21 Jun 2018 20:29:55 -0500 MYOB en-gb City of Tuscaloosa Urban Development to Host Open House on West Tuscaloosa Study http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/community/item/2348-city-of-tuscaloosa-urban-development-to-host-open-house-on-west-tuscaloosa-study http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/community/item/2348-city-of-tuscaloosa-urban-development-to-host-open-house-on-west-tuscaloosa-study City of Tuscaloosa Urban Development to Host Open House on West Tuscaloosa Study

The City of Tuscaloosa Urban Development Department will host an open house where the West Tuscaloosa consulting team will present findings and recommendations for the West Tuscaloosa study on May 17 at the McDonald Hughes Community Center, once at 11 a.m. and again at 5:30 p.m.

The presentation will highlight findings and recommendations from community meetings earlier this year. Attendees may also provide feedback. This study will identify assets and challenges and examine residential, commercial and institutional opportunities that encourage reinvestment and promote neighborhood stabilization in the area.

“We’ve built a solid foundation for West Tuscaloosa over the past 12 years through major infrastructure investments. Now, continued engagement with the community is crucial to developing an above-ground plan that works,” said Mayor Walt Maddox, “and that’s just what this team is doing.”

For more information, visit tuscaloosa.com or call Tuscaloosa 311 at 205-248-5311.

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contact@druidcitymedia.com (Super User) Community Mon, 14 May 2018 00:00:00 -0500
Governor Kay Ivey to Speak at Chamber in Session: State of the State, on May 15 http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/business/item/2345-governor-kay-ivey-to-speak-at-chamber-in-session-state-of-the-state-on-may-15 http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/business/item/2345-governor-kay-ivey-to-speak-at-chamber-in-session-state-of-the-state-on-may-15 Governor Kay Ivey to Speak at Chamber in Session: State of the State, on May 15

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey will speak to Chamber members at Tuesday’s Chamber in Session: State of the State event, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at Embassy Suites.

Designed to provide Chamber members with updates from key officials on public policy topics, the event is expected to attract close to 300 attendees.

“This year’s State of the State event is of particular significance, as it falls during an election year,” said Jim Page, the President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama. “Alabama is faced with not only complex issues, but also opportunities for growth and investment, and our members look forward to hearing potential solutions from our officials. Open dialogue between our elected officials and the business community is extremely important.”

Presenting Sponsor for Chamber in Session: State of the State is The University of Alabama System. Gold Sponsors for the event are Embassy Suites – Downtown Tuscaloosa and TekLinks.

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contact@druidcitymedia.com (Super User) Business Sat, 12 May 2018 00:00:00 -0500
City of Tuscaloosa Initiates Innovative Business Plan Competitions Benefitting Tornado Recovery Areas http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/community/item/2236-city-of-tuscaloosa-initiates-innovative-business-plan-competitions-benefitting-tornado-recovery-areas http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/community/item/2236-city-of-tuscaloosa-initiates-innovative-business-plan-competitions-benefitting-tornado-recovery-areas City of Tuscaloosa Initiates Innovative Business Plan Competitions Benefitting Tornado Recovery Areas

The City of Tuscaloosa launches Innovate Tuscaloosa, a business plan competition to encourage economic growth in tornado recovery areas.

This Shark Tank style competition will award two $100,000 loans to new businesses in the 10th Avenue or Alberta areas. The competition will benefit regions still recovering from the April 27, 2011 tornado, and funding will act as an incentive for business development. The ultimate objective is to bring a new or missing service to the areas and stimulate job creation.

Applications are now available on Tuscaloosa.com and in the Infrastructure and Public Services administration office in Tuscaloosa City Hall. Selection of awarded businesses will be made by the Community Development Block Grants Committee.

The City of Tuscaloosa will also contribute $50,000 to the Edward K. Aldag Business Plan competition through The University of Alabama and in partnership with the EDGE. The competition will take place March 27. The City’s allocation will benefit a Tuscaloosa community entrepreneur, who plans to develop a business in the recovery zone.

Tuscaloosa City Council amended its preexisting Small Business Revitalization Loan Program, made possible through the City’s U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant disaster recovery award, in order to reinvest funds for these new initiatives.

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contact@druidcitymedia.com (Super User) Community Thu, 08 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0600
Mayor's Minute October 2017: A Message from Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/community/item/2047-mayor-s-minute-october-2017-a-message-from-tuscaloosa-mayor-walt-maddox http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/community/item/2047-mayor-s-minute-october-2017-a-message-from-tuscaloosa-mayor-walt-maddox Mayor's Minute October 2017: A Message from Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox

In recent months, I’ve discussed the City of Tuscaloosa’s budget and its lackluster revenue growth. One of the byproducts of this anemic growth is not being able to invest in longer-term assets that City departments need to operate.

For the last eight years, I have been torn between which areas to invest the limited amount of dollars we do have, trying to determine where we can get the most bang for our buck. This year, one area came again to the forefront during a discussion with Tuscaloosa Police Department officials: the deteriorating state of our public safety fleet. 

Over the last five years we have only been able to bandage together enough funding to replace 37 percent of the fleet, a fleet with now over 96 vehicles topping 100,000+ miles. Something had to be done.

In 2012, the City created a red light traffic camera program that would take pictures of cars used in committing violations, a police officer reviews the images and then sends the owners of the vehicles a red light running ticket. All tickets paid to date have been set aside, and when I was in discussions with the Police Department about their need for vehicles, it became apparent that now was the right time to use the money.

The City has collected over $1.5 million from the red light camera program over the years, and this will now be used to invest 46 vehicles into the Tuscaloosa Police Department, giving a much-needed boost to our working fleet and reducing auto maintenance costs. We plan to have these vehicles ready and working on the street during in 2018.      

Investing in assets to keep Tuscaloosa streets safer – that’s money well spent.  

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contact@druidcitymedia.com (Super User) Community Sun, 29 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0500
City of Tuscaloosa Launches Redesigned Responsive, Reactive Website http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/community/item/2043-city-of-tuscaloosa-launches-redesigned-responsive-reactive-website http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/community/item/2043-city-of-tuscaloosa-launches-redesigned-responsive-reactive-website City of Tuscaloosa Launches Redesigned Responsive, Reactive Website

The City of Tuscaloosa has launched a completely redesigned Tuscaloosa.com website. The new site went online on Wednesday, Oct. 25. According to city officials, the website is much more than a visual overhaul. It focuses on users and what they need – not on how City Hall is departmentally organized.

The new website is responsive, which means it responds to the device being used, and it is reactive, which means it reacts to the user’s activity on the site. Most common tasks and searches are prominently featured on the homepage and will automatically adjust based on user habits. For instance, if you regularly visit the website to pay your utility bills, you’ll get that information on the homepage.

“We take data-driven approaches to projects, and the website data pointed to the people,” said Mayor Walt Maddox. “This website helps us better connect to people and gives them a better connection to City Hall. We’ve been digitally opening the doors to City Hall this year – this website swings those doors wide open.”

More information is presented in a more accessible way. An expanded search function is front and center, which completes traditional online searches and also brings up frequently asked questions related to the search term. An easy-to-use navigation sorts information by function not City Hall department.

The homepage features access to the open data portal, which the City launched in January, increasing transparency.

Users can also provide feedback on the newly redesigned website through a banner located at the top of the homepage.

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contact@druidcitymedia.com (Super User) Community Wed, 25 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0500
Governor Ivey Declares State of Emergency Ahead of Tropical Storm Nate http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/community/item/2015-governor-ivey-declares-state-of-emergency-ahead-of-tropical-storm-nate http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/community/item/2015-governor-ivey-declares-state-of-emergency-ahead-of-tropical-storm-nate Governor Ivey Declares State of Emergency Ahead of Tropical Storm Nate

Governor Kay Ivey on Thursday issued a statewide State of Emergency in anticipation of the potential impacts for Tropical Storm Nate. According to the National Hurricane Center, Nate is expected to reach the northern Gulf Coast this weekend as a hurricane when it makes landfall on Sunday morning. This storm is expected to bring direct impacts from wind, storm surge and heavy rain.

The National Weather Service is expecting Nate to be a compact, fast moving storm, with most wind impacts closer to the center of the circulation. Landfall is expected Sunday morning between southeast Louisiana and the Florida peninsula. In Alabama, winds of 75 mph and gusts to 90 mph are expected near the coast. Further inland over the western 2/3 of the state, sustained winds of 35-45 mph with gusts to 60mph are forecasted as far north as the Birmingham/Gadsden region. This statewide State of Emergency is effective as of Friday at 7:00 a.m.

“I have signed the State of Emergency, because it frees up personnel and resources in case there is a need to respond to any storm related activity,” Governor Ivey said. “State and local leaders are ready to respond if needed, but our people need to stay weather-aware and heed any directions given by local officials.”

Governor Ivey also ordered the State Emergency Operations Center in Clanton to activate to Level Three. This level of activation will allow AEMA staff to monitor and prepare for the impact of Tropical Storm Nate. In addition, several state agencies such as the Department of Transportation, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Alabama Department of Human Resources, the Alabama Forestry Commission and the Alabama National Guard have been notified and are prepared to respond as well.

“The time for residents to prepare is now. Please build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, have a plan to communicate with family members if you lose power, review your evacuation plan with your family, stock your vehicle with emergency supplies and have a method to receive the latest weather updates and emergency instructions,” Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Brian Hastings said. “It is important for Alabama residents to understand the potential threat of this storm goes beyond the coastal counties.  Everyone needs to closely monitor this system as it moves across the state in the coming days.” 

The State of Emergency will be effective at 7:00 a.m. Friday and will remain in effect until the threat diminishes.

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contact@druidcitymedia.com (Super User) Community Thu, 05 Oct 2017 22:46:54 -0500
Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox Announces Run for Alabama Governor http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/community/item/2014-tuscaloosa-mayor-walt-maddox-announces-run-for-alabama-governor http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/community/item/2014-tuscaloosa-mayor-walt-maddox-announces-run-for-alabama-governor Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox Announces Run for Alabama Governor

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter Maddox is running for Alabama governor. In a videotaped statement on Thursday, Oct. 5, Maddox confirmed he is entering the 2018 race.

“I believe in our people, and I believe in our promises. But our leaders have left us in crisis,” Maddox said in his statement. “In the past two years our governor, house speaker, house majority leader, and chief justice have all left in a cloud of shame…the crisis in our leadership has created a crisis in state government.”

Maddox, a Democrat, formed an exploratory committee back in June. He announced then that he was not changing parties, though some had suggested this might be beneficial.

“I’m a Democrat. While many have urged me to change parties for the sake of political convenience, that would be dishonest. Dishonest with you and dishonest with myself.

We don’t need any more dishonesty. The days of running for the Democratic Party or for the Republican Party need to end. It’s time to run for the people of Alabama.”

The 44-year-old Maddox has served as Tuscaloosa’s mayor since 2005.

“As mayor of Tuscaloosa, I know what it means to lead with the courage of our convictions,” Maddox said on Thursday. “I also know what can happen when we set aside our political differences.”

Maddox then went on to discuss Tuscaloosa’s rebuilding efforts after the 2011 tornado.

View Maddox’s entire announcement video here.

Maddox joins a field of candidates that includes Democrats James C. Fields and former Alabama Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb, and Republicans Kay Ivey (who has announced she’ll seek a full term), Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, and State Senator Bill Hightower.

The primary elections for Alabama governor are June 5, 2018; the general election will be held on Nov. 6, 2018.

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contact@druidcitymedia.com (Super User) Community Thu, 05 Oct 2017 14:35:36 -0500
Local Businessman, Former Chamber Board Chairman, Named to Alabama Commission on Higher Education http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/business/item/2012-local-businessman-former-chamber-board-chairman-named-to-alabama-commission-on-higher-education http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/business/item/2012-local-businessman-former-chamber-board-chairman-named-to-alabama-commission-on-higher-education Local Businessman, Former Chamber Board Chairman, Named to Alabama Commission on Higher Education

Norman A. Crow, a member of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama and a past Chairman of the Board of Directors, has been appointed by Governor Kay Ivey to the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE). He will represent Congressional District Seven and will be subject to confirmation by the 2018 Alabama Senate.

“We are proud to have Norman serve our state in this capacity, and feel he will be an excellent addition to the Commission,” said Jim Page, President and CEO of the Chamber. “His passion and commitment will greatly benefit the Commission in seeking to provide access to quality education.”

Crow is the president of D.T. & Freight Company, Inc., which was founded in 2004. The long haul flat-bed trucking company delivers products throughout the southeast.

In addition to being active in the Chamber, the Tuscaloosa native is also active in both the community and on a state-wide level. Crow serves as a board member of the Alabama Workforce Council, the Business Council of Alabama and the Alabama Trucking Association. He currently serves on the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority. From 2013 to May of this year, he served on the Tuscaloosa City School Board of Education.

“Commissioner Crow’s extensive business and educational background will be a tremendous asset to the Commission,” says ACHE Executive Director Jim Purcell. “His expertise will be crucial as we begin implementation of our ACHE Strategic Plan (2018-2030).”

Crow holds an accounting degree from the University of Alabama.

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contact@druidcitymedia.com (Super User) Business Tue, 03 Oct 2017 12:47:31 -0500
Dara Longgrear Retiring from Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/community/item/1998-dara-longgrear-retiring-from-tuscaloosa-county-industrial-development-authority http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/community/item/1998-dara-longgrear-retiring-from-tuscaloosa-county-industrial-development-authority Dara Longgrear Retiring from Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority

After 31 years as the executive director of the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority (TCIDA), Dara Longgrear will retire, effective Nov. 1.

“Dara has been a difference-maker for Tuscaloosa, who has led the transformation of our industrial economy,” said Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox. “The lives of our citizens are better because of Dara’s dedication and leadership. To say he will be missed is an understatement.”

Under his leadership, Tuscaloosa County’s economy has transformed as its presence has grown on the national and international stage. During this time, more than $7.5 billion has been invested into the economy and almost 16,000 jobs announced with the successful recruitment of companies representing eight different countries.

“Dara Longgrear is and has been the consummate professional while serving as Executive Director of IDA. I have witnessed firsthand, his dedication to the Tuscaloosa community, while promoting our community to potential industrial clients,” said Tuscaloosa County Probate Judge Hardy McCollum. “His efforts will be evident for decades to come. Dara has had a hand in bringing tens of thousands of jobs to our community and generations of our citizens will benefit from his hard work and dedication.”

Dara Longgrear is retiring from the TCIDA.

Over the years, Longgrear has been involved with the recruitment of major national and international companies to Tuscaloosa County including manufacturers such as Hanna Steel and RadiciSpandex, which located to Tuscaloosa as Globe Manufacturing.

Most notably, Longgrear is responsible for assisting in the recruitment of Mercedes-Benz’s first North American passenger vehicle assembly plant located in Vance. Since then, top auto suppliers have followed, including Bolta, Brose, Eberspaecher, SMP Automotive, Yanfeng Automotive Interiors (formerly Johnson Controls), and ZF Chassis Systems, among many others.

Regarding his tenure with the TCIDA, Longgrear said, “I have been extremely fortunate to have worked in a profession that I love, in a community that I love, and with people that I respect and admire.”

Longgrear graduated from The University of Alabama in 1978 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Regional and Urban Development and began his economic development career at the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce that same year. He is a past president of the Economic Development Association of Alabama, the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, and the AlabamaGermany Partnership.

After retirement, Longgrear plans to travel and spend more time with his family and wife, Leah.

The TCIDA board of directors will conduct the search for a replacement in the coming months.

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contact@druidcitymedia.com (Super User) Community Tue, 26 Sep 2017 22:47:32 -0500
Mayor's Minute: August 2017 http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/community/item/1951-mayor-s-minute-august-2017 http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/community/item/1951-mayor-s-minute-august-2017 Mayor's Minute: August 2017

Recently, in this column, I discussed the impact of the digital economy on the City of Tuscaloosa’s finances. With 68 percent of the City’s revenues coming from gross sales, based on varying studies regarding the impact of online sales, the City is losing between $3.5 million to $7.5 million a year. Since 2010, depending on how conservative you desire to be, the City has lost between $17 million to $35 million in revenue growth.  

Here is the thing, this dynamic will continue to get worse, which is reflected in the downturn of the large-scale retail market.

Knowing this, how do we adjust?  

Over the next five to 10 years, local governments in Alabama will have to make major shifts in tax strategy which will be difficult because it will likely require legislative approval. 

In the meantime, the City of Tuscaloosa will work to expand the experience economy. As you know, for all the conveniences of online shopping, we innately enjoy experiences such as eating out, attending events and convening with friends and co-workers. In other words, we must work to attract more pieces of the experience economy to Tuscaloosa because they are most likely to be sustainable in this new environment.

In next month’s article, I will discuss two major initiatives detailed in our Four Year Plan that would certainly maximize our desire to transition to an experience based economy.

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contact@druidcitymedia.com (Super User) Community Thu, 31 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0500