Jackson budget review committee discuss budget recommendations for 2017-18

A committee of Jackson city council members and residents work to create a balanced city budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

JACKSON, Tenn. — Just less than a week before a judge could decide on how the City of Jackson will spend $12 million in sales taxes, starting July 1, the city’s budget committee met to talk about ways to increase revenue.

Wednesday evening, members of the budget committee said they feel confident the judge will rule in their favor next week, but are already looking at ways to make up a multi-million dollar budget deficit if that doesn’t happen.

The committee decided on several recommendations to take before the city council.

Budget Review Chairman, Randy Wallace said they will continue to look at a storm water fee.  “We have aging infrastructure in the city and roads are starting to crumble,” said Wallace.  “It hasn’t been addressed in quite awhile and we need to address it.”

Members also plan to propose that Mayor Jerry Gist appoint a committee to look into creating a “prepared food tax” that would affect purchases at restaurants.  “We have so many visitors from out of town coming into town that use city services and that helps kind of defray the cost from the city residents,” Wallace said.

The committee also had a recommendation to save the city money when it comes to new city workers. “Employees who are hired after July 1, 2019 instead of them being on a pension plan being on a 401K,” said Wallace.

Committee members only briefly discussed the city’s Tuesday court date over $12 million in education funding, it now wants to keep. Wallace said he doesn’t believe the court will side with Madison County.

“Well that’s not going to happen,” Wallace stated. “If it does, I think that’s what we’re addressing today.”

Wallace says if the judge rules against them in Tuesday’s emergency injunction hearing, the committee will look into immediately implementing a storm water fee, food tax or increasing property taxes, as well as reducing city spending.

The new fiscal year begins July 1.

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