Madison County Commission addresses chicken barns, employee raises

JACKSON, Tenn. — Beech Bluff residents stood outside the Madison County Agricultural Complex Monday to protest chicken barns set to be built in the area.

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“We just want a chance to have a say in it,” said Beech Bluff resident Claude Johnson.

Johnson spoke in the meeting, and told commissioners he believes the barns will cause pollution, bad smells, and road congestion.

Madison County attorney Steve Maroney said the commission’s hands are tied when it comes to zoning, and that the state would have to get involved.

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Now, they’re looking at other avenues.

“We’re going to explore the possibilities of trying to set forth some guidelines to satisfy our constituents of having to deal with the odor problem and other existing problems over there,” commissioner Harold Petty said.

The property committee will address the chicken barns, and committee members invited Claude Johnson to the meeting.

The Madison County Commission also voted Monday to give all employees a three percent raise.

“Right now for the full time, it’s going to be $259,000 for the remainder of the year. We’re going to try to get that on the December 11 payroll,” commissioner Doug Stephenson said. “For part time, it’s probably going to add $75,000 for the remainder of the year.”

This comes after the lawsuit between the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and Madison County, which ruled that certified officers for the sheriff’s office should receive a seven percent raise.

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The commission also voted to pay more than $500,000 in legal fees from the lawsuit. Commissioners had a closed-door meeting with their attorney.

Stephenson said the county can afford the raises because they’re seeing an increase in sales and hotel/motel taxes in spite of the pandemic.

“Which is really astounding to me,” Stephenson said.

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