Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Jackson Mayor Heady: Rural Summit Allows For Ideas To Be Exchanged

Jackson County Mayor Randy Heady back from last week’s Rural Opportunity Summit where he said ideas were exchanged and these ideas will benefit the county.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee hosted the summit with at-risk and distressed county leaders to discuss problems and potential solutions. Heady said there were several panels and discussions held at the event. He said his biggest takeaway is the things he learns from state officials.

“One of the panelist talked about TIF, Tax Increment Financing, and how they had in that community, distressed county, took the TIF opportunity and developed 19 new retail opportunities,” Heady said.

Heady also did a presentation at the summit where he discussed a program where those incarcerated in county jails could take accredited CTE classes. He said he also informed those in attendance of a program that provided Sheriff’s Department free tablets for inmates to do classes on.

“If there is anything I can bring back from this summit to help the other counties and help us as a region, you know, that’s what I want to do,” Heady said. “I know the other county mayors feel the same way. The statement a rising tide floats all boats that’s true, so we all have to put our resources together and work together to continue to improve the quality of life of our residents.”

Heady said there was a reverse panel where Lee and other state officials asked the County Mayors and Executives questions.

“I’ll be honest with you, one of the biggest things I think we get out of that is we get one-on-one conversations with commissioners from each department, and we get an opportunity to talk to them about the obstacles we have, the barriers, and then also what we see as a vision for our community, and they can help us best implement that vision locally and that’s what it’s all about,” Heady said. “It not just about getting money.”

Heady said the Summit helps rural communities immensely. The state ranks the economic status of counties. It gets the ratings from the Appalachian Regional Commission, using a three-year average of unemployment rates, poverty rates and per capita market income to determine each county’s economic status.

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