The path ahead for Jackson County


The global and national response to COVID-19 has relied on an intricate, cohesive response from agencies and partners at all levels of government.
At the county level, many decisions rely on guidance from state and national recommendations so far. Jackson County Interim Manager Heather Baker said that approach will likely continue for now, barring any unforeseen circumstances in the immediate future.
“With regard to the Governor’s extended Order and its relation to County Orders, things remain the same,” Baker said. “The Governor’s Order applies across the State of NC so Counties can be more restrictive but not less restrictive. We will continue to monitor the situation and metrics in Jackson County in consultation with our Health Director when it comes time to make decisions affecting Jackson County.”
In terms of general, day-to-day operations, Baker said Jackson County’s government offices have weathered the storm well so far. Aside from the recreation department, all of the other government offices in the county have continued to function despite modified hours or remote work modifications.
Even the county budget, a monumental yearly task that requires a great deal of work even without the specter of the pandemic looming overhead, is projected to be completed and released on-time. The economic impact of COVID-19 for the county, in the form of a significant loss of sales tax revenues, will be a factor in the budgeting process this year. Baker said the county is well-positioned to clear that hurdle, though.
“We’re fortunate in Jackson County because we have a healthy fund balance. We’ve saved for a rainy day,” she said. “Hopefully we don’t have to get into that, but if need be we have that, and that puts us in a better position than a lot of other counties.”