City Council – Highlights from the July 13, 2017 Meeting
Published on July 14, 2017
Council voted 5-0 to approve an increase in the lodging tax to support a new $42 million renovation and expansion of the Von Braun Center. The amendment to the ordinance would increase the lodging tax by 2% and add a $1 charge per room per night to visitors staying in Huntsville hotels. Proponents of the amendment say the City’s lodging tax is still below competing cities.
Council passed a resolution to support the Huntsville Airport’s bid to secure a future re-entry landing site for the Dream Chaser or other space vehicles. The resolution approves funding for professional services from the City of Huntsville, Madison County, Industrial Development Board and Airport Authority to provide environmental and FAA approvals and licenses. Total needed is $520,592. The City’s portion is 75% ($390,444). The Airport Authority has already secured $536,378.
Development agreement with Blue Origin, Madison County Commission, and the Industrial Development Board. Blue Origin, pending future contract awards, is proposing to build a new facility in Cummings Research Park West to design, engineer and build the BE-4 rocket engine. Blue Origin will invest $90 million investment in phase one with a total $200 million investment when complete. The company will hire 265 employees in phase one, and ultimately hire up to 400 employees. The City is providing cost of land (approximate $5 million site grant), infrastructure (site work, entrance roads, and utilities – electric, natural gas, sewer, water) and $1 million from local authorities as a cash grant toward building costs (City’s portion is $500,000). Twenty years of non-educational City tax abatements and 10 years of non-educational State tax abatements are included. The agreement is predicated on Blue Origin meeting performance benchmarks before any incentives are granted.
Engineering received the green light to proceed with a resurfacing agreement between the City of Huntsville, City of Madison and Limestone County Commission to share costs and resurface Huntsville-Brownsferry Road from Mooresville Road to Burgreen Road. The road runs through all three jurisdictions. The City’s portion is 35% of total cost – $271,964.52.
Engineering is also increasing the scope of the road improvement project on Cecil Ashburn Drive to include additional surveying and design services for double westbound left turn lanes from Old Big Cove Road to Cecil Ashburn Drive and a right turn lane from eastbound Cecil Ashburn Drive to Old Big Cove Road. The modification to the design comes as a result of comments from the Public Involvement meeting on this Restore Our Roads project. Total cost is $7,381 for additional surveying and design services.
Approved an annual contract with J.C Creek Contractors (periodic bid) for traffic engineering road striping and marking. Cost is not to exceed $211,400.
The Dry Creek Greenway in Providence received a Council green light. This segment is part of the Indian Creek Greenway design. The cost is $500,000 with the City paying 20% ($100,000) and State paying the rest as part of the Transportation Alternatives Program.
The final phase of the Five Points pedestrian improvement project earned Council’s approval. It will include new sidewalks, diagonal parking, street trees and landscaping. The Holmes Avenue segment starts from the 5-points intersection at Andrew Jackson, west to Dement Street (in front of the gas station and Tenders). Cost is $592,513.21. This is a 80/20 split between federal and state. No local money is involved.
Council approved the following individuals to Boards & Commissions:
- Sam Greene to the Advisory Commission on Accessibility and to the Medical Clinic Board of Huntsville, Alabama -1973, for a term to expire in January 2018. Nominated by Council Member Devyn Keith.
- Teneshia E. Daniels and Arley McCormick to the Alabama Constitution Village/Historic Depot Board, for a term to expire in June 2018. Nominated by Council Members Will Culver and Jennie Robinson.
- Dane Block and Trey Propst to the Downtown Redevelopment Authority, Group A, for a term to expire in July 2022. Nominated by Council Member Bill Kling.