County governments across the state had a deadline of midnight Friday night to officially ratify their budgets for the upcoming fiscal year.
The Madison County Commission beat that deadline by a little more than 15 hours when they ratified their budget in a special-called meeting that lasted about 25 minutes.
The ratification ends a months-long process in which the budget committee met with all the department heads in the County in the month of April to hear their budget reports from this past year and their needs for the coming years.
Those conversations continued through May as the committee narrowed down the most critical needs and expenditures they could push back to at least next year.
The one thing that slowed the process down was the Jackson-Madison County Schools not sending the first version of their budget until June 5, which is the date the committee tries to send a draft of the budget to the Commissioners.
The committee rejected that budget on June 7 because after they’d negotiated that they’d approve funding maintenance of effort for the district and an added $1.2 million in educational capital for teacher laptops, the capital committee of the commission voted to recommend pulling back the education capital in favor of sending money to the budget for school resource officers.
The school board sent a second version of the budget back that still included the $1.2 million that the entire commission rejected 17-8 during their monthly meeting on June 20. The school board approved a new budget without the $1.2 million after Superintendent Marlon King said there was no need to budget money that wasn’t allocated in property tax revenue.
Friday’s vote of the 20 present Commissioners approved the budget by a tally of 19-1 with Claudell Brown dissenting. Brown, along with fellow Commissioners Tony Black, William Martin and Shelia Godwin, had been adamant in recent weeks that the Commission should approve the JMCSS budget with the education capital included to support schools and King. Black and Martin voted to approve the budget, while Godwin was one of five absent Commissioners on Friday.
Budget committee chairman Carl Alexander noted a few highlights of the budget that includes money for 5 percent raises for each department, money for school resource officers in every school and two in each of the four largest high schools (Jackson Central-Merry, Liberty Tech, North Side and South Side) and improvements at McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport including resurfacing and extending one of the runways.
Here’s a look at other actions taken by the Commission:
The City of Jackson reimbursed the election commission for $106,238.53 which is what it cost to conduct the municipal elections on May 2 and the Mayor’s runoff on June 13.
Greg Milam submitted his resignation from the Board of Trustees for West Tennessee Healthcare, which was unanimously accepted by the Commission.
Commissioner Arthur Johnson was one of the five absent on Friday because he was in the hospital recovering from a stroke suffered earlier in the week. Chairman Gary Deaton updated the Commission, saying Johnson was doing well and recovering.
There is no Commission meeting planned for July with the budget having been approved for the following year. Their next scheduled meeting is set for Aug. 21 at 6 p.m.
Brandon Shields, firstname.lastname@example.org