Mayor Jimmy Harris delivers final State of the County address

JACKSON, Tenn. — Wednesday, Madison County Mayor Jimmy Harris delivered his annual — and final — State of the County address.

“Our community has weathered, at least to this point, the pandemic. I think we’ve done a decent job, and the direction that Mayor [Scott] Conger and I have lead this community, but it’s been a challenge and is a challenge everyday, and we’re still in the midst of the storm,” Harris said.

Harris says he has a lot to be proud of in Madison County.

Firstly, he says the Jackson-Madison County School System is moving in the right direction despite all they’ve had to tackle the past two years.

“I think that Dr. [Marlon] King and the board are doing a good job. They’ve got some real difficult decisions to make too because they still have the issues with COVID within the schools, and that’s a real challenge to make the right decisions on that,” Harris said.

Harris is also happy to see the improvements on the economy in the county.

“Our sales tax are up. Our hotel/motel tax are up. Our businesses are doing good. Industry is doing good; has lots of order,” Harris said.

He says the one thing that stands out are the problems surrounding employee shortages.

“Not just here, all over the state and the country is workforce. We have businesses, industry, and especially healthcare that are really struggling to keep enough employees to get the job done,” Harris said.

He says the new industrial plan the Jackson Chamber is developing is going to be a big plus in the future to help employers who could compete for workers due to Blue Oval City.

“We’re going to need to be ready to help them replace those positions, and so a workforce center being located here is going to help us help them,” Harris said.

Harris says it has been a blessing while being in office to see the community grow and thrive.

“The people I see, the communities I get to visit, and just to be around and get to know them, and I will miss that,” Harris said.

He says he is excited for what is next, which is spending time with his grandchildren more often, putting more time into his real estate business, and knocking out a few of the items on his bucket list.

“Well, my wife and I love to travel. I love to fly a little airplane. We’ve been to other countries, and I love that, but there’s lots in this country that I’d love to see and do in the northwest, in the west and the northeast. Just to see the great aspects of this great country of ours,” Harris said.

Harris says during the next two to five years, there will be a huge transformation for West Tennessee due to Blue Oval City.

He says county and city leaders will continue to prepare and be ready for the growth they anticipate getting.

The State of the County address was given during the Jackson Rotary’s Club meeting.

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