Managing Madison growth requires forward-thinking action

Recently a resident stopped by my office for a scheduled meeting. This gentleman had a few questions: What is the City doing to manage growth? How will we continue to move traffic, and what benefits does the Kyser Boulevard development offer to our city? After our discussion, it was clear we needed to share this information to our broader community as well.

When this council and myself came into office in 2016, it was clear we needed to manage growth. Our schools were at maximum capacity, and with an economic boom in our Tennessee Valley, it was paramount to anticipate our city’s trajectory. The Madison Growth Impact Committee was formed, comprising involved residents led by past council member Mike Potter and past school board president Dr. Terri Johnson.

This committee researched and informed our city council of growth in numbers and what the school system would need for success. It was determined the schools would need a 12-mil property tax increase to support the growing number of students. The tax passed Sept.10 by a 70/30 vote, showing our community is committed to education.

During this critical time, the council also passed a growth policy requiring any new developments to have significant benefit to our city. As these steps were taken, our legal department researched impact fees that would allow the City to use funds with supporting data toward infrastructure, fire, police and schools.

Regarding the Kyser Development, the developer agreed on extending Kyser Boulevard to Westchester, providing a quicker and safer route for buses traveling from the Madison City Schools Transportation Department to the new middle school location near Central Office and the school stadium. The developer also agreed to extend the Bradford Creek greenway all the way to historic downtown. These terms added up to roughly $4 million in significant benefits to our city that the developer will pay and must complete within four years. The units in the Kyser development are targeted toward an older demographic and are allotted only 50 units to build out per year.

While the perception might be that we increased property tax to support our schools and then added another development, the reality is the growth policy allows us to control growth and see greater impact from the developments that make sense in our city. People move here because we offer a high-caliber quality of life; our job is to make sure we manage that growth with forward thinking.

Following up, our office put together a video highlighting these facts in detail through visual graphics for your reference. You can view this video and other city messages at

Paul Finley
City of Madison