Jackson City Council approves more than $250K for study, land purchase

JACKSON, Tenn. — At their monthly meeting, Jackson City Council members approve the purchase of additional property in north Jackson and plan to spend $100,000 on research about a new civic center or arena.

jacksonElected officials are on the fence about the future spending for the city. “At this time, I do not think we can take on that much debt,” Councilman Harvey Buchanan said.

The issue on debate is whether the city needs to build a new entertainment arena.

During the Tuesday meeting, the council approved spending $100,000 for a feasibility study. “Part of the feasibility study is if we can afford it, how we can build it,” Mayor Jerry Gist said. “If it’s needed, if it’s not needed — that issue will be at rest.”

Councilman Buchanan did not support the six-figure expense. One reason he gave is to keep the additional debt from eventually raising taxes.

“We’ve got to look at either raising the sales tax or doing something in the next two to three years, so how are we going to turn around and quadruple our debt to 350, 400 million dollars?” he said.

Mayor Gist said the city’s budget is solid but not ready for frivolous spending.

“We still have a strong fund balance, but if you drop 25 or 30 million dollars into a public venue, obviously it will take additional funds to build it,” he said.

Buchanan said he wants to see the city’s current venues get more use. “What we need to do is promote the civic center and arena that we have.”

City Council members unanimously approved purchasing more than 20 acres of land in north Jackson for just under $160,000. The goal is to develop the area into walking trails and locations for more recreational activities.

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