JUNE 30, 2017 - STATEMENT FROM MAYOR JERRY GIST

June 30, 2017

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Office of the Mayor

Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist applauded the Madison County Commission today for approving an agreement on how the city’s share of a local option sales tax will be allocated.

“I’m happy that the negotiations are completed and successful,” said Gist. “I am happy with the results. Our purpose from the beginning was to protect the interest of city residents, and we have done so with this agreement.”

According to the agreement, the City of Jackson and Madison County will evenly split the revenues the city receives from its share of a 1.25 percent local option sales tax for the next 10 years. The county will continue to use its portion for the Jackson-Madison County School System. The agreement also sets up the Jackson-Madison County Education Foundation that will support school improvement initiatives.

The city had been donating all of the revenues to Madison County for the school system until the City Council voted in April to use the money for major infrastructure costs and other needs within the city.

The city voluntarily started donating the money in 1990 after voters passed a referendum to merge the Jackson City School system with the Madison County School System. The city’s donation of $4 million in 1990 has grown to nearly $12 million for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. 

The Jackson City Council will vote on the agreement when it meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 11. If approved, it becomes effective for the 2017-2018 fiscal year that begins July 1.

Gist, Madison County Mayor Jimmy Harris, Madison County Commission Chairman Gary Deaton and Gist’s assistant Sam Dawson have been meeting over the past week to negotiate an agreement, Gist said. “We went into negotiations to do what is best for the city, the county and our school system. You cannot be successful in negotiating if both parties go in with the attitude of what is mine is mine and what is yours is negotiable.”

Gist kept city council members informed during the negotiations. Councilman Randy Wallace, chairman of the council’s budget committee, and Councilman Ernest Brooks suggested the 10-year sunset provision in the agreement, and Councilman Scott Conger suggested the creation of the education foundation, Gist said.

The negotiations were in response to a ruling Madison County Chancellor James Butler made June 20 when he denied the county’s request for a temporary injunction in the matter and ordered both the city and the county to explore an equitable settlement.

If the agreement is approved by the city council, the city will use its share of the revenues to continue to grow the city for the future, Gist said. “We have a $60 million list of infrastructure needs.”

Gist is particularly pleased with the establishment of the education foundation. After sales tax revenues reach $12 million, the city and the county will evenly give up to $500,000 each to the foundation. Gist anticipates sales tax revenues to continue to grow and that the foundation will begin to receive funding in its first year.

The foundation will be part of the West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation. The city, the county and the school system will each appoint members to the education foundation board. The education foundation will also be able to seek grants and accept private donations.

The agreement approved by the Madison County Commission also includes provisions to settle other financial issues between the city and the county. These include …

• During fiscal year 2017-2018, the City will pay the school system the remaining principal it owes from the City’s past collection of the mixing bar tax. The amount is about $1.58 million.

• The City also will pay the county $195,000, which represents the funding deficit for 2015 it owes the county in support of the Jackson-Madison County Library and the Emergency Management Agency.