During their Dec. 14 meeting, the Jackson County Commission discussed adjustments to the Jackson County’s holiday schedule as well as the purchase of equipment for various departments.

Due to rising cases of COVID-19 in the state and county, the commission approved the addition of Dec. 28 and Dec. 29 as holidays for the county. This will allow for the courthouse to be closed for a total of 12 days during the Christmas Holiday in an attempt by the commission to address the spread of COVID-19.

A commission meeting scheduled for Dec. 28 was moved to Jan. 4 to accommodate the change.

The commission experienced a number of individuals in the courthouse test positive for COVID-19 after the Thanksgiving Holiday. The added holiday time is an attempt to limit potential exposures in county employees.

Any due dates for the Tag and Title office will also be moved due to the beginning of January. This will not impact the tax or fees paid by citizens.

"It's worth a try," said Jason Venable on the measure to adjust.

County employees working on the additional holiday days will be paid on Holiday pay. This is likely to include the Sheriff's Office, Sanitation and employees at the jail who are working.

It was stated during the meeting that trash pickup will not be affected by the alteration.

The commission approved splitting the donations received from the Big Trash Splash, which occurred over a year ago, to the Jackson County Rescue Squad and the Jackson County Shrine Club.

The purchase of a dump truck and road tractor, which was discussed at the previous meeting as part of the County's yearly buying process for vehicles was approved by the commission. Similarly, the commission approved the auctioning of last year’s equipment.

The purchase of 12 Lewis Chest Compression Systems was approved by the commission.

During a previous work session, the commission had discussed purchasing the chest compression machines utilizing CARES Act and other grant sources to allow them to be distributed to local fire and EMS departments throughout the county.

The systems require a training course to be used. They allow the operator to have their hands free to assist in other rescue operations after the machine is set up.

Adjustments were approved to the County's carryover unused annual leave. The commission temporarily removed a cap on the time that could carryover from year to year.

Due to COVID-19, some employees had accrued excess leave by taking shifts of those who had to quarantine.

The commission expected that this will change to affect five to six employees.

The commission discussed moving the county administrator from a contract employee to a regular full-time employee.

According to Tim Guffey during the meeting, little will change based on the adjustment, and the pay for the position will not be adjusted.

The county does not currently have a job description for a county administrator. Because of these concerns, the issue was tabled until the commission’s Jan. 11, 2021 meeting.

The county had previously approved $20,000 in matching funds for the grant, an adjustment to the estimate would require an additional $8,000.

Funds are expected to be used from Jackson County economic development fund.

Rocky Harnen, the chief deputy for the Jackson County Sherriff's office informed the commission that the water had been off at the jail after a water main broke; however, he assured them that inmates had been provided with drinking water.

Harnen also stated that the water main had been fixed.

The county commission will next meet in January 2021.

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