Agri-Park Committee Meeting Minutes
5 July 2022
Chairman George Witt opened the meeting asking Commissioner Tommy Pollard to offer a prayer and lead the pledge. The Minutes of 7 June 2022 were moved for approval by Commissioner David Wamble, seconded by Commissioner Joyce Woodard, and were approved. Several handouts were provided, e.g. Giles County Agri-Park Fee Schedule and Lease Agreements.
Commissioner Duane Jones recommended a committee be established to look over the lease agreement, mentioned about four such as Maury, Lawrence Counties and come back to main body. Commissioner Terry Harwell commented that was this committee’s responsibility. Commissioner David Adams asked about one of the lease agreements, i.e. Talladega, and why it was included. Chairman Witt noted they were all for examples only. The Chairman added that after some research, approximately 12 years ago there were some rules but those haven’t been followed. Instead, the county now abides by state laws and by more recent rules. He suggested looking at the handouts and choose any additions to the rules and specifically to add a signature of the user renting the park. At this time Commissioner Gayle Jones asked did that mean up to now there have not been any signatures. A question by Commissioner Stoney Jackson to Angela Jernigan, County Executive secretary, on how the process works now was answered by Ms. Jernigan that she takes the information from the potential user, but the form did not have a signature block. A motion by Commissioner Wamble and seconded by Commissioner Harwell to add a signature block to the form was made and was approved.
At this time the Chairman opened for discussion any additional recommendations to the rules/form. On reading the Talladega agreement, he noted that all children must be supervised by an adult. Commissioner Duane Jones commented that the rules should be simple and generic, e.g. Maury County’s lease agreement has no fireworks, tobacco, keep within speed limits, no dogs except service animals, no four-wheelers, and no glass containers. Commissioner Joyce Woodard raised the question of liability insurance showing on one of the lease agreements, i.e. a range of $1M – $2M. Commissioner Wamble questioned that requirement given users at the Agri-park may be small gatherings, i.e. birthday parties. Member Jason Doggett noted that insurance would be for large gatherings. Commissioner Gayle Jones noted no alcohol should be included. A question was then raised by Commissioner Wamble on who enforces, e.g. glass containers. A motion by Commissioner Harwell that no alcohol be allowed be covered in the rules was seconded by Commissioner Woodard, and was approved.
Chairman Witt then called on county attorney Lucy Henson to address the legality of the previous Pride event held at the Agri-Park. The attorney stated she had researched whether it was legal or not and had checked with County Technical Assistance Service (CTAS) as well. She mentioned that some public discussion was happening around the Adult- Oriented Establishment Act of 1998 and whether it applied or not to the Pride event. She noted that in or around 2002 the Giles County Commission adopted the Adult-Oriented Establishment Act. That Act states among other requirements that you are required to have a license to operate. CTAS said this past Pride event doesn’t fall within those definitions in the Act. The Act states even dancers/entertainers require a permit. She mentioned the numerous times (4X) she had contacted personnel to determine what the Attorney General’s opinion might be but only received a late response which was secondhand verbal information. She further stated that in her opinion this particular Tennessee Act does not apply. She mentioned Capt. Purvis’ attendance at this meeting today and commented nothing occurred that broke the law. She further said the Office of the County Executive’s mission does not include prosecution. That the county cannot discriminate against a specific group, would have to stop all. She stated as a county we have not violated anyone’s civil rights including having peaceful protesters. She did agree that the Lease Agreement needed to be updated, noting the old one appears to have been amended quite a few times (given different fonts).
Commissioner Gayle Jones asked if there is a penalty for County Records to be destroyed (no reference), and the County Attorney said you can file a suit. Commissioner Gayle Jones asked can you add no adult cabaret to the rules (cabaret being included in the Adult-Oriented Establishment definition). Commissioner Terry Harwell asked was there any dancing going on at the Pride event? He mentioned that he thought it had been brought up before this commission. Commission Stoney Jackson suggested to go the Carol Wade’s Office and look up in the minutes.
Chairman Witt asked if there was any old business, and Commissioner Duane Jones asked the status of the cameras. County Executive mentioned the $8100 included in the recent budget meeting and that she expects two more bids shortly. Additionally, the potential Community Health grant discussed in previous Agri-Park meeting has been pulled by the offering party of the grant and is expected to come out at a later date. Mr. Matt Moore of Aspen Hill Growers provided an update on the Farmers Market held each Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. He mentioned the Tuesday being the better attended with 20 or more customers and approximately 13 vendors. He also noted that the local growers are just now having increased produce available. He also mentioned they had been setting up in the cattle open shed, but perhaps needing a sign to alert customers where they were. Benny Birdsong said that there is a sign and will be using it.
Chairman Witt then opened the meeting up for public comments with approximately 13 members of the public attending. Several individuals spoke with the comments generally addressing the Pride event. Concerns were disagreeing that the TN law did in fact address this show, accusations of missing paper work, considered a moral and ethical issue, concerns about children at the show, dancing, and lack of signature. Several of the speakers addressed what they perceived as the County Executive’s role, although in her words “she is one vote on this board”. Chairman Witt thanked the public for their comments.
Commissioner David Wamble moved for adjournment and with Commissioner Joyce Woodard seconding, the motion was approved.
ATTENDEES: Committee member attendees – Chairperson George Witt, County Executive Melissa Greene Commissioner members Terry Harwell, Joyce Woodard, Larry Worsham, David Wamble, Rodney Journey (absent) Other members Benny Birdsong, Jason Doggett, Mayor Pat Ford (absent),Other Attendees/Commissioners – David Adams, Rose Brown, Stoney Jackson, Duane Jones, Gayle Jones, Tommy Pollard, Mike Cesarini, Tim Risner/County Attorney Lucy Henson, Sheriff’s Department Capt Purvis, Director UT Extension Giles County Kevin Rose, County Executive Secretary Angela Jernigan/ members of the public including Mr. Matt Moore, Jason and Tonya Guthrie, Annelle Guthrie, Billy T. Young, Debbie Young, Cheryl Albury, and Caleb and Adnyana Slagle.