Tab Bowling wants to become the first Decatur mayor in 28 years to earn a second straight term.
Bill Dukes is the last mayor to win reelection when he served five straight terms from 1978 to 1992. Don Kyle won two mayoral elections, but his terms weren’t consecutive. Bowling defeated Kyle in 2016 to become the city’s leader.
“It’s been an honor to serve, and it would be very humbling to follow in Mayor Dukes’ footsteps,” Bowling said.
However, he faces six opponents in this bid for another four years as mayor. The municipal election is Aug. 25.
“My goal is to serve,” Bowling said. “I believe opponents are focused on defeating me and would not not be full-time public servants. While I admire their courage to seek the opportunity to be a mayor, I do not believe any of my opponents have the ability or stamina to perform the duties associated with the office. I have and I do."
He said the city budget grew from $53 million in his first term to $68 million in fiscal 2020.
“It would have been $70 million if not for COVID-19,” Bowling said. “We will have to make some cuts, but I still feel good about fiscal 2021.”
Bowling said he led a “new tone of cultivating relationships and trust” among the city’s partners like the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, Morgan County Economic Development Association and other local groups. He said he also worked on establishing partnerships with neighboring cities and counties in north Alabama.
“We’ve seen growth for the first time in more than 20 years, and I think that will be reflected in the next U.S. Census and enrollment growth in our schools,” Bowling said.
Bowling said the city and its police jurisdiction saw $1.2 billion in industrial expansion and 1,000 new jobs during his term.
And Bowling said more growth is coming because of the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA plant that’s under construction. He said there are six major subdivisions, with roughly 400 planned homes, under construction in the city. A $1 million sewer main expansion helped start two subdivisions and created the possibility of even more residential growth.
Bowling said he would like to see a bridge built across the Tennessee River from Alabama 20 in the city’s northwestern corner to Huntsville-Brownsferry Road.
He said this would create a new route for the trucks hauling items from the automobile plant and its suppliers.
“There’s a lot of freight coming out of Memphis daily and through the city to the plants,” Bowling said. “This would take a lot of stress off Hudson Memorial bridges and the U.S. 31 causeway.”
Bowling said the city needs to work with EDA to find a location for a new industrial park, possibly in the western or northwest corner of the city.
The condition of the city’s roads has been an issue for the last decade, but Bowling said the city made progress in catching up. At $100,000 per lane mile, it has completed 80 lane miles in four years.
Bowling said he is proposing reducing the city’s $25 million hard reserves by $3.3 million and using $1.7 million made from investing its reserves to create $5 million for paving.