Mt. Vernon Register-News

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September 27, 2013

Committee loses member

MT. VERNON — Jefferson County Board member Jeremy Hall has withdrawn from an assignment to serve on the board's special committee for courthouse renovations.

Hall sent an e-mail to Committee Chair Randy Edwards, and also informed the board chairman of his intentions.

“Communicating with residents and listening to their concerns and ideas is something I have made a sincere effort to do since joining the board,” Hall said. “However, direction given by the county board chairman to this particular committee leads me to believe we on the committee are not charged with obtaining ideas from taxpayers so much as we are to convince them to support a sales tax increase. I cast the lone vote against implementing Phase I (at a cost of $4.6 million) so it should be obvious I am not interested in persuading taxpayers to support a tax increase of any kind.”

The committee has not formally met since it was named. Other committee members, in addition to Edwards and Hall, are James Malone and Tommy Hayes. The committee has a meeting scheduled at 6 p.m. Monday, according to Edwards, who declined comment on Hall's action.

Chairman Robert White said he did not give “direction” to the committee, rather he made suggestions.

“If he (Hall) feels like he's in opposition with the direction the committee takes it is important for him to serve on the committee and to make sure his points are heard,” White said.

Hall said he agreed the courthouse property is in dire need of repair in some areas. However, he agreed with fellow board member Jim Laird, who said the board should operate under a “pay as you go” plan rather than spending more than $7 million at once. Hall also noted a report at this week's full board meeting that painted a grim financial picture for the county. Additionally, he said, the county is in “budget season” and it, too, is a daunting task.

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