The Jackson County Commission unanimously voted to close the South entrance to the Jackson County Courthouse at its meeting on Tuesday afternoon. Friday, June 7 will be the first day the door will be closed.
Commission Chairman Tim Guffey said that the door will remain closed until “our local legislators decide to help us with our budget.”
Guffey said that the commission has sent several resolutions and other things to the legislative delegation to try to solve the county’s financial problems. He also said that if they would have passed any of those in the legislative session, the county would not have to close the door. Guffey wants citizens to understand that the county cannot create funds.
The county is starting to make budget cuts, and Guffey said that closing the door is one of the easiest ways to begin the budget cuts. This change will not affect the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department’s day-to-day operations.
Sheriff Chuck Phillips said that two full-time deputies will work at the North entrance of the courthouse. Phillips said that he does not like the change, but he understands that the county is hurting for money. He said that something drastic has to be done to fix the county’s money issue.
Phillips said that he does not like the closing because it would be an inconvenience for county citizens and employees because people that park on the south side of the courthouse will have to walk all the way around to the north side to enter.
“I’m very sorry if this inconveniences anyone,” said Guffey. “This is not something we wanted to do, but it is something we had to do.”
The north side of the courthouse is ADA compliant, where the south side is not. The north side also sees much more traffic than the south side. At 2 p.m. on Wednesday, 675 people had entered the courthouse through the north entrance, opposed to the 180 people who entered through the south side door.