Budget negotiations continue in Madison County

MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. — The Madison County Budget Committee met with various department heads to discuss their budgets and negotiate as the deadline for the fiscal year closes in.

“Our goal here is to try to meet as many of the needs as we possibly can without placing undue burden on the taxpayers,” said District 8 Commissioner Carl Alexander, the Chairman of the Madison County Budget Committee.

According to commissioners, they are $6 million under budget. However, after moving money around, they were able to bring that down to less than a million.

“Relooked at the income coming in. Some of that was not correct. Some of that information had to be edited and evaluated and then also cutting some of the expenses out. The budget is so connected. It’s so interconnected, any change in one piece of it affects the other,” Alexander said.

One department head of note at the meeting was Superintendent Dr. Marlon King of the Jackson-Madison County School System.

King included a few new items on his budget for the fiscal year 2023-2024. Some included changes to employee insurance, a three dollar raise for supporting staff like bus drivers and janitors, and raises for starting teacher pay to $46,000.

At the meeting, King requested $48,035,327 million for maintenance of effort, which is required.

Plus, $1.6 million for buses, roof maintenance and teacher laptops.

King negotiated with the commission to receive $48,035,327 for the maintenance of effort and an additional $1.2 million for teacher laptops.

The school system will still deliver the three dollar raises to supporting staff and the increase to starting teacher pay. However, some items had to be discarded.

“We will not be able to take on the insurance increase at 90% for singles and 80% for families. However, we will absorb the insurance cost. If there is an increase, we will take on that cost like we have done the last three years,” King said.

The school system will meet Monday to approve all budgets, and they will then submit the official budget for approval with the county.

Also at the meeting, commissioners stated that the Jackson-Madison County Airport Authority was asking for more money this year. Alexander said most of this is for upgrades to their runways.

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“They’ve got grant money for most of it,” Alexander said. “That’s one of the first things you see when a lot of visitors come into town, is through the airport. And I know some of the companies that are a part of Blue Oval have contacted them and it’s going to see a lot of increased use due to Blue Oval.”

Representatives from the sheriff’s department also attended the meeting.

According to Alexander, their budget has been secured for around a month.

Earlier this month, Gov. Bill Lee signed legislation that would assign a student resource officer at every public school. However, representatives from the sheriff’s department say they would like to have two for the high schools.

The next meeting will be held Thursday at 2 p.m.

The deadline for the budget is a little more than a month away.

For more news in the Jackson area, click here.

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