Commissioner Jason Venable read aloud a letter to be sent to the Jackson County Legislative Delegation at the last commission meeting held on Thursday, February 27, 2020. The letter comes in hope that the Delegation will place an item on the 2020 general election ballot that will offer a permanent solution to the county’s financial woes.
“The Jackson County Commission makes this plea to you for some sort of relief from the financial hardship it has been in for the last few years. There has been much talk and many ideas shared between the Delegation and Commission over the last several years, but the fact still remains the county has a revenue shortfall that keeps us from being able to perform our duties and responsibilities to our citizens. We as a commission have been able to find a way, year in and year out to balance our budget, but that has often and almost always at some expense to the public or to our employees.
Whether it be roadway safety, due to the regressive condition of our roads causing damage and potential unsafe traveling conditions. The understaffing of our Sheriff’s Department where, on some occasions, we have as few as two deputies covering this large county. The County Jail, where it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to retain a full staff due to our low rate of pay. The staffing issue isn’t limited to the jail. We have only been able to give one small cost of living increase in the last seven years, while entities all around us have had annual increases. This has not only led us to a more than 20% turnover rate, but it has made it difficult to attract good candidates for open positions.
Last but not least, we have a vast number of elderly and less fortunate individuals who depend on our senior and rural transportation programs. These very important and needed programs could very soon find themselves in financial jeopardy if we cannot continue to support them through our general fund. The commission has asked by numerous resolutions for several different referendums to be placed on the ballot for the people of Jackson County to determine the course in which they want this county to be on. We strongly and unanimously believe that whatever action is taken, it should be approved by a favorable vote of the citizens of this great county. We in no way approve, or would we support the imposing of any tax in Jackson County. We appreciate all past help and cooperation. We know that you all deeply care for this community we all call home. That is why we sincerely ask again now to please place on the 2020 general election ballot a permanent solution to this growing problem.”
The Commission voted to approve the sending of the letter.