State of the Community Welcomes Mayors, Probate Judge

Northport Mayor Donna Aaron, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox and Probate Judge Hardy McCollum addressed a sold out crowd of Chamber members at Chamber in Session: State of the State, held Aug. 31 at the Bryant Conference Center.

One of the Chamber's largest public policy events, the guest speakers held a conversational style presentation moderated by Carl Jamison of JamisonMoneyFarmer PC, who also serves as the Chairman of the Chamber's Public Affairs Council.

The public officials discussed a range of topics for the crowd of approximately 500 attendees, including population growth, industrial development efforts, higher education, infrastructure revenue sources and funding for the area's Park and Recreation Authority.

"A sustainable funding source is the only answer," Maddox said, and both Aaron and McCollum agreed. "We've allowed it to become political, and we've got to do better than that," McCollum said. He predicted the legistlature would address the issue.

The group also discussed the relationship between Tuscaloosa, Northport, Tuscaloosa County and the University of Alabama, and talked about ways to entice students to remain in the area following graduation.

"The University of Alabama is a special asset," Aaron said. "We need to make sure students and alumni come back and invest in the city that game them their start."

Chamber in Session: State of the Community was presented by Walker Associates, Inc.

Gold Sponsors: City of Northport, Jim 'N Nick's BBQ and TekLinks. Silver Sponsor: Trustmark National Bank. Bronze Sponsors: FASTSIGNS of Tuscaloosa, Hudson Poole Fine Jewelers, Perfect Shine, Inc.

Table Sponsors: Alabama Gas Corporation, Alabama One Credit Union, BankFirst, Buffalo Rock Company / Pepsi-Cola, Burk-Kleinpeter, Inc., Capstone Bank, Express Employment, FNB of Central Alabama JamisonMoneyFarmer PC, Neel-Schaffer, Raymond James, Robertson Banking, Shelton State Community College, Tuscaloosa City Board of Education, Tuscaloosa County Board of Education, Way, Ray, Shelton & Company.

Special Thanks to David Pass, Sealy Furniture Company.