City council votes to remove oversight on Madison Academic project

JACKSON, Tenn. — A debate was sparked at Tuesday’s Jackson City Council meeting.

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The city council took a drastic step when voting on a recommendation for Madison Academic High School. An amendment before them proposed that the construction of the high school have external oversight.

After nearly 40 minutes of discussion, the council voted against it.

“An owner-representative who would effectively represent the city in overseeing the project,” said Jackson City Councilman Ernest Brooks II.

“The council decided to remove oversight from a $14 million dollar project that’s already $3 million dollars over budget,” said budget committee chairman Paul Taylor.

The purchasing committee for the project recommended hiring local Jackson contractor, Watlington Brothers, to do the overseeing, but some council members thought there was enough oversight already.

“We were satisfied with the oversight taking place, from the architect, to the developer, from the investors,” Brooks said.

Brooks voted against oversight, while Taylor voted for it.

“With furloughing over 100 city employees, we felt this was not the right time to go hire someone outside to perform those services,” Brooks said.

“It’s something that I believe needs to be implemented into every single project that we do,” Taylor said. “To make sure that we were getting exactly what we paid for and what we’ve approved.”

Construction on the site started months ago, so that won’t change. But from here on out, it will be watched closely to see if the council made the right decision.

“The city will deliver a brand new Madison Academic High School on schedule,” Brooks said.

The city council also elected to apply for a grant that would help in the construction by the proposed Great Wolf Lodge.

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