Walt Maddox has led Tuscaloosa to new heights. Through times of crisis, there is no one better equipped to lead. Walt is tested and proven.
- Tuscaloosa 311
- Tornado Recovery
- Pre-K Initiative
- Cutting Red Tape
- Tuscaloosa Amphitheater
- Public Safety
- Elevate Tuscaloosa
- West Tuscaloosa
- Financial Management
- Saban Center
Walt’s core belief is that the city will be a customer-friendly environment and the work will be open, efficient and effective.
In 2007, Walt established Tuscaloosa 311 as a non-emergency call center connecting people with their government. Today, Tuscaloosa 311 answers and responds to nearly 100,000 calls annually.
Even more importantly, it has provided a direct line to City Hall for every citizen.
In the city's darkest hours following the devastation of the April 27, 2011 tornado, and with 12 percent of Tuscaloosa destroyed, Walt provided decisive and compassionate leadership that was nationally recognized.
With 5,300 homes, businesses, churches and institutions severely damaged or destroyed; Walt passed Tuscaloosa Forward after months of public input. Nearly ten years later, Tuscaloosa Forward has provided over $100 million in infrastructure and set the table for a remarkable comeback. Since the devastation of the April 27, 2011 tornado, the recovery zone has experienced 5,425 building permits totaling $1.1 billion dollars of residential, commercial and civic investments.
Walt currently serves as a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and was named the Nation’s 2012 Municipal Leader of the Year.
During Walt’s first term, the Pre-K Task Force was developed to investigate and plan the path to ensure all of Tuscaloosa’s four-year-old children receive a quality pre-k education.
The Pre-K Initiative was born, which provides 250 children per year an opportunity to receive a pre-k education in one of the nation's premiere programs.
Walt also created the annual Mayor's Cup 5k/10k, which has raised over $200,000 to go directly into the pre-k classrooms. The nationally recognized Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative is now the model for the state’s pre-k program.
Walt knows that investing your tax dollars wisely and delivering innovative and effective services are absolutes.
His plan has combined seven city departments in the areas of infrastructure, public services and urban development.
Walt also believes that local government should be accountable to the people which is why he led the Transparent Tuscaloosa initiative to digitally open the doors of City Hall. The initiative is the first and only open portal in Alabama and provides citizens realtime financial information about how the City spends your tax dollars.
Streamlining departments, instilling transparency, and eliminating bureaucratic red tape will ensure the best services for Tuscaloosa citizens, while maintaining the lowest major municipal sales tax rate in Alabama.
The Tuscaloosa Amphitheater opened on April 1, 2011.
It averages 60,000 plus ticket sales for 15-20 shows annually. The Amphitheater can hold a maximum of 8,000 people, and ticket sales ranked 73rd in the world for all amphitheater venues in 2015.
The City also uses the impressive facility for Holidays on the River and other community events.
As other leaders faltered under the stress and uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, Walt took the leadership steps needed to keep Tuscaloosa strong.
Acting decisively before most, Walt made the decisions necessary to ensure the curve was flattened and the virus's healthcare implications to DCH Healthcare System were managed. COVID-19 also created an economic crisis, especially in Tuscaloosa where 28,000 students left the City, as well as their spending power.
Working with the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce and small businesses, Walt initiated and passed Restart Tuscaloosa which immediately invested $1 million dollars into small businesses. Over the next 24 months, Restart Tuscaloosa will make key investments to neighborhoods, public safety and the economy.
In one of Tuscaloosa’s fastest-growing cities, major crimes are down by double-digits.
Under Walt’s leadership, three police precincts in East Tuscaloosa, West Tuscaloosa, and Downtown have opened. New and innovative units have been established such as the cyber-technology division which leverages technology to keep our community safe and the addition of mental health officers.
Violent crimes among our youth is a disturbing trend. In 2018, Walt ran for governor because he wanted to do more at the state level for juvenile courts, corrections, mental health and pardon and paroles. Knowing that help from the state level is not on its way, Walt has reached out to the community for help. In August 2020, he will have a comprehensive and community-driven recommendation to address the issues of crime, poverty and blight.
Leadership is about being strategic and bold which is why Walt proposed and passed Elevate Tuscaloosa.
Elevate is vastly expanding pre-k, sending hundreds of high school seniors to college annually, investing in public safety and creating a new experience economy.
Over the next ten years, beyond the investments in our children, Elevate will bring Tuscaloosa the Saban Center, parks, riverfront trails, conference center, commercial air service and a safer community.
Walt knows that our future rests with the next generation and we want our children ready to create, find jobs and invest right here in Tuscaloosa. To ensure that the one penny increase wasn’t a burden, Walt made sure residential garbage rates were decreased by $220 annually which offsets the increase.
Prior to 2005, West Tuscaloosa suffered from generations of neglect and disrepair.
Under Walt’s leadership, there has been over $150 million in public investments including Noah’s Ark Storm Drainage Initiative and investing in Stillman College in 2016 to keep its light shining. Now, with the work of the West Tuscaloosa Inventory and Framework, more will continue to be accomplished.
Since 2019, 306 blighted homes have been identified with over 110 being demolished or brought to code. In addition, millions have and will continue to be invested in LED lighting, fiber upgrades, sidewalks, and storm and sanitary sewers.
Work has also started on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard Project. The nearly $35 million investment will open over 100 acres for new development, and create a new day in West Tuscaloosa. In 2022, ground will be broken on the $20 million Western Riverwalk. With the Saban Center and River District Park as its anchors, a new era will begin for the Westside.
Managing the taxpayer’s money is a top priority and the mayor must be ready on day one.
Today, Mayor Walt Maddox effectively manages the operating and capital budgets totaling $238 million and $162 million respectively. According to the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, the city of Tuscaloosa has the fourth-lowest debt per capita in the State for its General Fund. In addition to the General Fund and Water and Sewer Fund, since 2011, there have been $130 million in federal, state and local disaster recovery funds that have had to be managed by the City.
Mayor Maddox has balanced the budget each year in office including through the Great Recession, April 27, 2011 tornado, and now COVID-19.
In October, despite the impacts of a global pandemic, Fitch and Moody's reaffirmed the City’s credit ratings of AAA and Aa1, which is the elite standard for municipalities. Even with all the unprecedented challenges Mayor Maddox has faced, the City’s credit ratings are higher than the first day Walt took office.
Fitch and Moody’s recent analysis stated that the City’s “financial profile remains sound and well managed. The city has a long history of maintaining structurally balanced operations, benefiting from conservative budgeting and careful expenditure management."
You work hard to manage your money, and so does the city of Tuscaloosa under Mayor Maddox's leadership.
Under Walt Maddox's leadership, a unique public-private partnership was developed to advance the arts and children's learning in Tuscaloosa.
The project was catalyzed by a $1.25 million donation from Nick and Terry Saban and their nonprofit organization, Nick's Kids Foundation.
Saban Center will bring together the Children's Hands-On Museum (CHOM), the Tuscaloosa Public Library, the Tuscaloosa Children's Theatre, and a community black-box theater. The Center will feature STEM programs, the arts, and interactive learning.
This experiential education experience will be a one-of-a-kind jewel for Tuscaloosa. The Saban Center will open in late 2023.