Madison County Executive Leadership Application

Madison Named Top 25 Retirement Communities by Forbes

MADISON WAS NAMED as one of the Best 25 Suburbs for Retirement in 2015 by Forbes magazine. With the picture of the red caboose on Main Street, the article
discusses Madison’s warm climate, average cost of living, and good tax climate. Among nine other cities new to this year’s list, Madison is one of
25 cities across the continent and four time zones named to the list. 

With the town conveniently located only 11 miles north of the state’s capital, Madison residents have the small-town livability with the expediency of
living near a larger city.

In order to create the list, certain criteria had to be established, the article stated. “The major one was this: How far out is too far out
to be a suburb? Ease of access to the big city is an important assumption behind the list, and distance is a prime factor.” Although Madison
does not offer mass transit to and from Jackson, the growing city is below the average distance to a big city’s downtown area. Forbes marked
35 miles as the farthest driving distance from a large downtown area that could be considered.

FORBES MAGAZINE also considered the economy of the metro area in order to assess the success of retirees who wish to work part time. Also taken
into account were the economy of the metro area and the assessment of the state’s tax environment for retirees. Madison has a $230,000
median home price, just above the median price for other locations on the list, and cost of living is only slightly above the national
average. With a low serious-crime rate and a nearby hospital, the town also provides a welcoming community for retirees.

Forbes also included the rankings of the Milken Institute in their criteria. The Milken Institute produced rankings of metro areas based on
“successful aging,” the ability to age independently and with security and good health.

“I’ve lived here for 30 years, and during that time there has been huge population growth that has resulted in more in retail, sports facilities
and golf courses, churches, cultural activities, community events, educational opportunities, and more,” Tona Becker, Madison retirement
coordinator, said. “The community members have access to active living, spas, good restaurants, and shopping.”

Madison holds an extension of Tulane University, an MEA location off Highway 51, and is within easy driving distance of UMMC, marking Madison’s
proximity to medical facilities and educational opportunities. With a population of 25,000, it still feels like a small community. Population
was not a criteria Forbes magazine considered, although the location had to contain at least 5,000 people.

ALTHOUGH MADISON BEGAN as a railroad town, it has grown to include a community that accommodates growing families and retirees. “The difference
between a community and a town is the spirit of the people,” Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler said. “The people have always taken ownership of
Madison, and that has continued on with the growth. This is a city built for families, for retirees, a city that prayer has built.”

Last but not least, Forbes noted Madison’s warm climate and average air quality, highlighting the beauty and comfort Madison has to offer its
community.

“I just never forgot and never will forget why I served and my allegiance to the city of Madison. And any decision was based on what’s best
for the community and the future,” Butler added.

By: Megan Phillips

This article originally appeared in the July 2, 2015 edition of The Northside Sun.