Mayors gather in Huntsville ahead of legislative session

Mayors Meeting

The mayors of Alabama’s 10 largest cities got together over the weekend, offering them a space to discuss their challenges and compare notes on what’s working and what’s not.

The annual Big 10 Cities Conference, held in Huntsville this year, ended Monday, and a big focus of the conference was how these cities can work with and around the Alabama legislature which, unlike most states, directly involves itself in deciding what cities can and can’t do.

To that end, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey joined Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, Montgomery Mayor Stephen Reed, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato, Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba, Auburn Mayor Ron Anders, Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling and Madison Mayor Paul Finley at the event.

Maddox said Monday it’s important that the mayors can come together and share their experiences.

“Whether it’s dealing with seller simplified use tax, the criminal justice system, strengthening public safety, looking at mental health and how to address those problems over there, that was the crux of our agenda,” Maddox said. “It’s very important as the 10 major cities in Alabama we’re at one accord because in our cities really rest the quality of life and economic development of our entire state.”

Crime and safety are growing issues among the biggest Alabama cities, and Maddox said the legislature approving a new law allowing judges to deny bond to violent offenders will be a major step in the right direction.

The law is named for Aniah Blanchard, a 19-year-old woman who was abducted and killed in Auburn in 2019. Her body was found a month after her disappearance. Ibraheem Yazeed, 30, is facing capital murder in her death.

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