HomeNewsJackson City Council tables Jackson Plaza design contract in monthly meeting

Jackson City Council tables Jackson Plaza design contract in monthly meeting

The Jackson City Council tabled the approval of a contract between the City and LRK Architects to design the Jackson Plaza site. 

The $289,000 project is being split into five tasks, with the first one to cost $128,300. There were concerns for two reasons. 

The first concern was whether the City Council would be able to approve each task individually, instead of in a bulk action. This would give the Council the opportunity to discontinue the project if they are not satisfied.

The second concern, from Councilman Paul Taylor (Dist. 6), stemmed from a recent addition to the first task of $5,500 to hire an independent project manager service, raising the cost from $122,800 to $128,300. If continued through all five tasks, the independent consultant would cost $22,000. 

“But that’s not the bigger issue,” Conger said after the meeting, “I think the issue we’re concerned about is if we get to a point where we don’t want to proceed with the study.”

The independent project manager is Tina Mercer, through Infinite Consulting.

For now, the approval of the contract was tabled 6-2 (Marda Wallace and Sam Turner voted “no,” and David Cisco was absent), with the intention to bring up the concerns again next month.

City Court 

The City Council unanimously approved John Eskew, with the University of Tennessee Municipal Technical Advisory Service, to conduct an efficiency study for Jackson City Court. The study will look at operations, functions, personnel, technology, record keeping and economic impact of Jackson City Court. 

City Court Judge Blake Anderson and Clerk Daryl Hubbard both approved of study.

Richard Donnell, Dist. 3, brought up an email sent to councilmembers from Daryl Hubbard. He said the letter referred to a “political takeover” of the Clerk’s office by the hiring of Mitiz Merriweather, the new Deputy Court Clerk.

In the meeting, Hubbard said she is unqualified and has caused internal problems in the office. Hubbard also said that he does not know who she reports to.

He continued to say he is thankful for the study. 

JDDC Annual Report

The City Council also heard the Annual Report presentation from the Jackson Downtown Development Corporation Executive Director Beth Simpson.

Since her hiring, Simpson has rebuilt the organization, which had gone dormant for several years. She has worked with the Jackson Arts Council and Public Arts Commission, as well as property owners. She says the organization has also received a $90,000 grant for facade improvements for downtown businesses. 

“We are excited to be at the table for planning processes for Downtown and future design guidelines this year,” Simpson said, “We have already seen two businesses come Downtown and we have several more in line to come this year as well as residential spaces. There’s just exciting growth for Downtown and we’re grateful to be at the table for new development and support existing and ensure that are healthy.”

Other notes

The City Council voted 8-0 on two grants for public safety. The first grant will provide $450,000 for paramedic and EMT training for the Jackson Fire Dept. There is a 10% match on the grant. The second grant is from the Dept. of Justice for $47,776, split between the Jackson Police Dept. and Madison Co. Sheriff’s Office.

The City Council approved a motion to hire Personnel Placements for staffing. The agency has a 43% markup on employee wages. Currently the City has at least 14 jobs currently posted on their website. The vote was 7-1, with Paul Taylor abstaining.

Renovations at the Jackson Transit Authority Transfer Station was approved 7-1, with Taylor abstaining. The expected cost is $68,000.

The City Council also unanimously approved the $2.5 million dollars to build a new senior center at Westwood Gardens. The designers are TLM, and builders are Henson Construction. 

The City will also be buying the sound equipment for the Carl Perkins Civic Center that was previously leased. The cost is $300,000. A representative from the Civic Center said to lease the equipment yearly was $400,000.

Julia Ewoldt, julia@jacksonpost.news

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