Madison County pays more items over budget in new sheriff training center construction

Story by Brandon Shields, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee


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The Madison County Commission met Monday, October 16, to approve budget amendments, including on for more than $82,000 for the Sheriff’s Office. (Photo: MARANDA FARIS/The Jackson Sun)

DENMARK – There were a few tense moments during Monday’s Madison County Commissioners meeting at the new training facility for the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.

But budgets were approved as the calendar year winds down for 2017.

Here are four things to know from the meeting:

How much funding is necessary?

The most notable conversation happened between Commissioner Larry Lowrance and County Mayor Jimmy Harris during a conversation of approving moving funds to cover more renovations at the new sheriff’s training center.

The commission has had to approve paying for items over budget multiple times this year since the project began, and another one came in over budget this month.

Lowrance questioned the validity of the documentation of the need for the transfer, saying there was nothing in writing justifying paying nearly $500,000 so far.

“I don’t doubt that this project needs to be done, but this is a lot of money paid by the taxpayers, and I just think we need to do our job in making sure it’s necessary and how much is necessary,” Lowrance said.

Harris and representatives from the sheriff’s office told Lowrance they can’t know exactly what all needs repair and how much it is until no one is in the existing sheriff’s office in East Jackson.

The conversation eventually was ended by Lowrance when he said the conversation was going in circles and it went to vote for the added money to be approved.

Recommending a lawsuit on opioid manufacturers

County attorney Steve Maroney recommended to the commission the county become part of a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors that have contributed to the current opioid crisis in the United States.

Madison County has the opportunity to become part of the lawsuit, and Maroney said they’re joining in with a law firm in Pensacola, Fla., who is involved in the majority of the lawsuits nationwide against large pharmaceutical corporations.

The commission voted to approve Maroney’s recommendation.

Upcoming meeting with the superintendent

Jason Compton reminded the rest of the commission of an upcoming meeting with Jackson-Madison County Schools Superintendent Eric Jones and members of his administrative staff in which they can answer questions about the upcoming expansion of Whitehall School and closing of Lincoln Elementary.

He also said the legislative resolution committee met and recommends the county join in with potentially every county in the state in a petition to be sent to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to approve an appropriation of $74 million to get the industrial megasite in Haywood County shovel-ready for when a factory is ready to bring an operation in.
The Commission approved that as well.

Rec center update

Recreation director Ed Smith updated how the recreation center that was once Beech Bluff School is going.

He said it brought in more than $4,000 of revenue in November with memberships, classes, rentals, arts and craft shows and other events.

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