Madison Co. property taxes may be on the rise after City Council vote

JACKSON, Tenn. — Leaders in the county and school system are now scrambling to make last-minute budget changes as many are left wondering how Thursday’s City Council vote will affect Jackson-Madison County students.

“I kind of look at this as a pretty good kick in the teeth,” Madison County Mayor Jimmy Harris said after the vote.

The resolution means $12 million of tax revenue will be taken away from the school district just weeks before budgets need to be finalized.

“At this point, I think the board just needs to meet and have discussion about how do we move forward,” Jackson-Madison County School Board Chairman Bob Alvey said.

The county will have to close the gap.

“And I think it will mean, give or take, a 28 to 32 percent tax increase on the property tax to replace that funding,” Mayor Harris said.

With a number of building maintenance projects waiting in the wings, the newly appointed superintendent says they’re still a priority.

“We’re dealing with the safety of our kids,” newly appointed Superintendent Dr. Eric Jones said. “We’re dealing with the environment of our kids, which is of the utmost importance. So those things didn’t just go away because of this decision.”

The local NAACP president says he understands the city’s decision and believes the county missed an opportunity to invest in our students.

“We have to find ways as a community to decide once and for all, do we want a good, quality education system, or do we just want to fund it a maintenance of effort,” Jackson-Madison County NAACP branch president Harrell Carter said.

While Thursday’s vote may have been disappointing to some, Dr. Jones says the district still has a job to do.

“At the end of the day we’re still in the educating business, and we’re in the life-saving business,” Dr. Jones said. “Now more than ever, our city is at an important crossroads.”

“In spite of the vote today, we’re going to do whatever we can to fight for them and fight for education,” Alvey said.

Jones says he’s confident both funding bodies will do what’s right for our schools, keeping the kids first in every decision they make.

Following the City Council’s decision, the school board has called a special meeting to discuss losing the $12 million in funding. They will meet at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Board of Education.