Tuscaloosa City Council celebrates its 25th year

Brittney Knox

Since 1985, Mercedes-Benz built a plant in Tuscaloosa County, park and recreation services have expanded, and most recently, the city of Tuscaloosa has seen the construction of a local amphitheater.

All these are successes of the city council, which celebrated 25 years of the mayor-council form of government Tuesday.

A graduate of the UA College of Engineering, Alvin DuPont served in the municipality of Tuscaloosa for over 50 years and took office when the transition occurred from the commissions to the mayor-council form of government. He served as mayor until 2005.

DuPont was in attendance on Tuesday, as well as the members of the first city council.

“I think the progress of the city has been really good, and I am pleased with the successes,” DuPont said.

“There was a need for a different form of government from the three commissions so the legislation was written for a mayor-council government,” he said. “There would be a mayor elected at large and seven council members that would represent seven districts.”

City Attorney Robert Ennis wrote the legislation for the mayor-council form of government and said the change was a great benefit to the city.

“At the time there were a lot of unknowns,” he said. “No one knew what we were getting into.”

It was Jan. 29, 1985 when Gov. George Wallace signed the bill that provided for the abandonment of the commission form of government that the city had been under since 1911.

The first council took their oath of office on Oct. 8, 1985. Among that group was Sammy Watson, who served as one of the first city council members.

“The city has progressed in the change from the types of government,” he said. “It is great to see the many successes.”

He said that it was a privilege to serve the city just as the people had down before him.

“The city is financially sound, and it is my hope that during our terms that we encouraged the growth and the prosperity of the city of Tuscaloosa,” he said. “I hope that we helped to build a strong foundation.”

Mayor Walter Maddox read the proclamation that deemed Tuesday to be Tuscaloosa Mayor-Council 25th Anniversary Day, to honor the dedication of the previous leadership of the city.

He said the elected officials who came before him set the bar for sound leadership and he was honored to recognize them, and he hopes he will be able to help and make the city safer and have fiscal discipline.

“After my dedication to the city is done, I hope that my council and I are recognized for growing the city and diversifying the economy,” he said.