Mayor Harris: Talking tax lawsuit? No; well … yes

The Jackson Sun

Madison County Mayor Jimmy Harris said at the beginning of his State of the County speech on Friday he was not going to address the lawsuit between the county and the City of Jackson last summer.

Harris then reiterated his frustrations with the city’s actions regarding local options sales tax revenue, which resulted in the county having to make up a $6 million shortfall by raising property taxes for the first time in more than 20 years.

“I’m not going to discuss the $6 million deficit we had to make up in our school budget this year, because of a legal loophole (that) outweighed a 28-year commitment to this community,” Harris said. “It was made in 1989 to convince voters to give themselves a tax increase.”

“I also won’t discuss this action that was months and months in the making to the extent of hiring outside council, attorneys, spreadsheets, flyers and even producing a video to justify a deceitful action on this community. Our school system and the county was given 44-hours’ notice that this action was going to occur. It was a sad day in our community.”

Harris’ speech followed Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist’s State of the City address at the First Friday Forum. Harris and Gist highlighted the past year for their respective jurisdictions and what they were looking forward to in 2018.

After his speech, Harris said while he remains disappointed about the city’s decisions last year that they must continue to have a “business” relationship with the city.

“It may be a strictly business relationship, but we will have a relationship,” Harris said. “Because we’re all in this together, and I represent everybody that lives in the city as well as the people out in the county.”

Gist said as he consistently has in the past the city did what was best for them, and Harris did what he thought was best for the county.

“Our job is not to concentrate building allies for our political careers,” Gist said. “Our job is to take care of the people who live within our jurisdiction the best way we can, and that’s what both of us were trying to do.”

Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist gives the state of the city

Editor’s Note: We wonder if that includes financial bankruptcy

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