Taxpayers may feel the brunt of a resolution passed by the Jackson City Council during a called meeting Thursday to redirect sales tax revenue it receives from a local option sales tax to the city’s general fund rather than to continue to donate it to Madison County for Jackson-Madison County schools.

The resolution passed 6-1 with one council member abstaining (Vicki Foote) and one (David Cisco) was absent.

Charles Rahm cast the lone ‘No’ vote.

Gary Deaton, chairman of the Madison County Commission, told members of the City Council before the vote he was disappointed in the decision that was almost pending.

“This is a very disturbing thing to me,” Deaton said. “When you pull $12 million out of the school system … we will have to raise taxes. They (city council) never mentioned the fact that the people voted on this in 1989.”

Deaton said the rate today is $2.15 and would be raised to $2.75 – or a 60 cent increase.

“They mismanaged their money Deaton said. “And they are looking for revenue somewhere. They want us to raise taxes.”

Deaton and Madison County Mayor Jimmy Harris said they were disappointed the City went behind closed doors.

“No debate,” Deaton said. “Look at the lawyers they used; the marketing.”

Harris said it was less than two days ago he learned about this proposed resolution.

“They spent months gearing up for this, and I first learned about it at 11 a.m., Tuesday,” Harris said. “I had a visit from Mayor Gist, and he informed me what they were going to do … that was the first I had heard about it.”

Harris said the City has the legal ability “to take over their half of the 1.25, but the only reason it is available is, the citizen’s voted it in in 1989.”

“They voted it in on the city’s commitment and the county’s commitment.”

Harris added the voters never said the City can give the funds, or take them back at anytime.

“In my opinion, they are undermining the taxpayers will in this community,” Harris said. “If they want to change it, go ask the tax payers, the ones who gave them the right to that money, anyway.
“Have a referendum.”

City Councilman Randy Wallace was one of six who voted for the resolution.

“The city feels there is too much of the burden on the city to fund the schools,” Wallace said. “There’s not enough money coming out of the county.”

Deaton said the next step is to get the public involved.

“Public opinion needs to step up,” Deaton said. “People should be outraged about this, but we are not going to sit on the sidelines and do nothing. This just throws a kink in our budget … consider what it does when you take $12 million out of the school budget.”

(PHOTO: Jimmy Harris, mayor of Madison County talks with Gary Deaton, chairman of the Madison County Commission at City Hall, Thursday)
David Thomas, Twitter – @DavidThomasWNWS
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