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Agri-Park Board Meeting Minutes – December 2, 2022 (Approved)

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The Chair Commissioner Matt Rubelsky opened the meeting asking Benny Birdsong to offer a prayer, remembering especially Commissioner Roger Reedy’s wife Ann Shirley and those unable to attend that is,  Commissioners Tim Risner and Maurice Woodard; and then to lead the pledge.   The Minutes of 10 November were then moved for approval by Commissioner Caleb Savage, seconded by Benny Birdsong and were approved.  Mayor Pat Ford asked that the minutes be provided earlier in order to have more time for review.


Next order of business – Review of proposed By-Laws, which had been provided prior to the meeting, and incorporated remarks from the previous meeting, as well as some newer additions since that meeting (10 Nov 22).


Article II Membership

Section 2.01 – Change to composition of Board, i.e., five county commissioners and one representative from each of the four civic clubs.

Section 2.04 – Added Treasurer, consistent with county activities, i.e. The County Finance Director

Section 2.05 – Original proposed changed after comment from member Mayor Pat Ford as being to “wide” to Chairman “will make recommendations” on appointing committees.

Section 2.06 – “the issue at hand shall be postponed indefinitely” was questioned and per County Executive that terminology is correct in accordance with Robert’s rules of Order, in that the issue can be brought up next time.


Section 2.07 “not permitted” for web-based or substitute representation.


Section 2.08 and 2.09 (discussed together) 2.08 Completely rewritten from base by-laws.  (references members being absent) and 2.09 references alternative representatives)  Some areas of discussion:  when would the by-laws be effective; what about members with health issues; from clubs how soon to let you know you are not going to make the meeting; why is this not like other commission meetings (per County Executive this is set up under a Board bylaws); has had voting in the past (reference to someone sitting in that meeting and not having voting rights); everybody in room is allowed a voice so don’t need 2.09; suggestion to take out “no voting rights”; put in wording “send an email notification on not attending and who will represent”; concerns email may not be in time or seen; who makes determination who represents (2/3 majority can, per County Executive; Each club should decide, not Board (per Commissioner Gayle Jones); if commission in attendance, then County executive can determine or by districts; from clubs, have a vice member; alternative representative be assigned on a temporary basis; how commission representative I selected, leave to Chair’s discretion; Chair might not be a commissioner (have a vice chair that is currently also a commissioner);  This discussion ended with placing a star (meaning to postpone until a newly written section can be made (possibly combining these two sections as well).


Section 2.10 (not renumbering at this time although Section 2.09 may be removed) – Removed (addresses how another club would be added.)


Section 2.11 Rewritten based on previous discussions, but will be revisited.  A question on the charter addressing number of clubs and number of commissions was discussed with some disagreement on what is stated in the Charter for the Board.


Article III Authority and Duties

Sections 3.01, 3.02, and 3.03 –  3.01 Discussion “limited Authority” and breakout the stakeholders.

Section 3.04 Re discussion on non-profit appropriations as being a correct terminology and County Executive said yes it is a non-profit.


Article IV Meetings

Section 4.01 December will be a non-meeting month


Section 4.02 Question by Mayor Pat Ford on wording showing meetings can be called at any time; Commissioner Caleb Savage noting with adequate notification and with County Executive noting in accord with public meeting timelines.  Also, as a non-profit is still a public meeting.  Note by Commissioner Sutton to specify where.


Article V Financial and Reservation System for Park (County Executive noted change to Reservation and Finance

Section 5.02 Discussion abut member clubs may make reservations at any time –  Questions on calendar meaning end of calendar year or year from event; suggested one year before event; per Benny Birdsong some events have a scheduled event as the rotary horse show is always the fourth Saturday in July and that the County Fair is a more random date and at the “convenience” of the fair companies.  The Chair noted that club members will have precedence.  Commissioner Roger Reedy asked what if two organizations want to have small events in two separate parts of the park.


Section 5.03 – no comments.  Section 5.04 – Reservations are not “final” until lease agreement is signed and Commissioner Savage noted that the lease agreement will include a copy of the rules and regulations as well.  Any violation will void the use of the park.  A question by Jason Doggett on which would require insurance and which do not was noted.  Kevin Hood of UT Extension asked about some uses of the park, e.g. the Master beef class or the Ambulance classes and would those come through the Board for approval.  The answer those would continue.  Some organizations coming in and then profiting from the event led to identifying areas such as the farmers market and others such as state auctions and the role of the civic organizations in those events was discussed.   The discussion melded into the role of the park, should it be like ones such as  Fayetteville that keeps the park booked and brings in income, and with the County Executive noting we don’t have a parks and recreation department, and if go in that direction would need more staff.


Section 5.06 Regarding fees, or no fees, spell out the clubs and use Memorandums of Understanding for organizations such as the UT Extension use was suggested and after discussion on who should be listed and how to show the benefit to the club members, suggestion made to rethink this one.


Section 5.07 Profit for County and Clubs a decision to wait on this one.


The Chair led a wrap-up discussion with a suggestion to approve now and ask the County Executive to incorporate remarks from today’s meeting.  Several areas were then addressed, i.e. when by-laws signed give to state as amendment to charter; from County Executive – do some “clean-up” and forward again; give to county attorney and get stamp of approval; motion by Commissioner Gayle Jones to tentatively approve as discussed today and run by county approval failed due to lack of second; and ending with County Executive saying would do clean-up, take to county attorney and discuss at next reconvening meeting.


The Chair then turned the floor over to Commissioner Caleb Savage to discuss the handout he provided on Rules and Regulations; Policies and Procedures.  Commissioner Savage mentioned he had discussed with other counties and with some attorneys (not county).  The areas discussed were as follow:


  1. No alcohol – Several state and county ordnances were mentioned as addressing “no alcohol”.  Countering events such as weddings (champagne toasts), events on Pulaski square, suggestion to discuss with county attorney as to the legality were made.
  2. Smoking – Questions abut certain locations in park, e.g. outside only, designated areas, question of enforcing, smoking in eating areas, lose lot of attendees. Per Commissioner Savage will redo this rule.
  3. Suggestion by Commissioner Roger Reedy add “use of”
  4. Comments on “dangerous projectiles” in Rule 4 and “firearm” in rule 5. Mayor Pat Ford mentioned earlier discussions with him about moving the July 4th fireworks display from the cemetery to the Agri-Park with Commissioner Savage saying perhaps including “county sanctioned event” and Board approval for that event.  Other areas such as ax throwing was also mentioned, but all of that type would require Board approval, per Commissioner Savage.  Re the term “concealed carry” Commissioner Joseph Sutton suggested this should be run by the county attorney since the laws have recently changed.  Commissioner Terry Jones suggested include  “in accord with state laws”.
  5. Per above discussion combine with Rule 4.
  6. Campfires – Discussion centered around exceptions such as boy scouts, Christmas drive through warming, and with Commissioner Savage noting still be approved through Board
  7. Lost Stolen – no comments
  8. Parking – Question conflict with rule 21 by Commissioner Gayle Jones on who provides security. Clarification offered by choice of either or both event organizer or county responsible for needed security.
  9. Sexual activities such as provocative dancing – In previous meetings then county attorney Lucy Henson had stated due to her research and discussions, the states laws on cabarets or other similar type gatherings did not apply to a previous event held at the park since the event organizers did not “fit” as a licensed business. A member of the public mentioned that Legislation in January is addressing this issue and may strengthen the laws.  Jason Doggett said this Board can make this rule (discussion on the lease being signed before, rather than the application of the law).  Mayor Ford said he would like to do more research himself since who decides what is lewd may be totally subjective.  Commissioner Gayle Jones said all terms are defined in law.  Commissioner Savage suggested adding “removing articles of clothing or placing dollars in clothing”.  The Chair said leave 9 as is.
  10. Gambling noted to strike since Fairs and Raffles were mentioned.
  • Advertising material – Questions on responsibility of approving by either County Executive or Board, and the timeliness of those decisions. Since the permits come through the County Executive Office, and if the County Executive is OK with this responsibility, then Commissioner Terry Jones suggested this would be the best “place” for this responsibility.
  1. Use of bathroom facilities – Strike
  2. Clothing change
  3. Use of restrooms Remove 13 and add ADA requirements
  • Glass containers Discussions about some organizations such as the Farmers Market use glass containers as do the Flower show.
  • List of property damage – suggestions by Commissioner Terry Jones and Gayle Jones add fence and or real property and or personal property
  • Refuse – no comment
  1. Dogs and leash laws – per George Whitt some exceptions such as service dogs, and public Lois Aymett the Career Expo uses Veterinarians and dogs to showcase careers for high school students.
  • Cleanup of park by users – discussions about dumpster locations
  1. Inflatables – Have an attendant on duty
  2. Security costs redundant with Rule 8 so combine. County Executive deposit in full add.
  3. Gate fee – Decided to strike for time being. Discussion about renting whole park, or having two renters using separate parts of the park.
  4. Food trucks – question raised on why included by Commissioner Gayle Jones. Examples given of 4-H live stock showing and food for vendors; Frankewing rented and had hot chocolate; and Frito Lay brought in for their organization. Decision to take out and deal with later
  5. Any violations, bar use of park – Suggestion to change to “may”.

General discussion during wrap up:  Per Commissioner Gayle Jones the Agri-Park needs a safety kit (some basic medical care available), but she commented if have more than 40 people then there should be an EMS truck standing by.  Mayor Pat Ford mentioned the EMS staff shortage which might make a stand by difficult.  Further discussion the Agri-Park could be shut down in medical emergencies if necessary, and that the County Executive would have that authority.  Question by Mayor Ford on who would regulate and/or enforce the process with Commissioner Savage noting that the County Executive would have some control.


Benny Birdsong gave an update on an inspection recently completed and that all issues had been taken care of and even more.  Some areas mentioned were the electrical circuit capacity especially with food trucks, and with the bleachers.


Motion to adjourn by Commissioner Caleb Savage and seconded by George Whitt was unanimously approved.


ATTENDEES:  Members of the Board Chairman Commissioner Matt Rubelsky, County Executive (Ex-officio) Graham Stowe and other commissioners Caleb Savage, Gayle Jones, Absent – Maurice Woodard and Tim Risner  Other Club Members – George Witt, Benny Birdsong, Jason Doggett, Mayor Pat Ford


Other Commissioners in attendance – Terry Jones, Joyce Woodard, Joseph Sutton, Roger Reedy, Annelle Guthrie


Other attendees – Kevin Rose County Director of UT Extension, members of the public