Legislative Committee Meeting Minutes
August 2, 2021
Committee Members in attendance: Stoney Jackson, Chairperson, Duane Jones, Vice Chairperson, Joyce Woodard, Mike Cesarini, Tommy Pollard, Larry Worsham, Judy Pruett, Other Commissioners: Erin Curry, Roger Reedy, Tracy Wilburn, David Adams, David Wamble, Gayle Jones, Terry Harwell, Joseph Sutton, Rodney Journey, Tim Risner, Harold Brooks, and Brad Butler Other: Melissa Greene – County Executive, Lucy Henson – County Attorney, Public: Bill Young, and Tonya Guthrie
Chairman Stoney Jackson opened the meeting with Tommy Pollard offering the prayer and leading the pledge. Minutes from the 7 July 2021 meeting were moved for approval by Tommy Pollard, seconded by Duane Jones. Motion approved.
Stoney asked the county attorney, Lucy Henson, to clarify some of the TN Code Annotated (TN Statutory Law) on Nuisance Laws. She mentioned an earlier Giles County expanded authority from 2003 which was then opted out this year. Based on Lucy’s review the current state nuisance law does not protect the county from the various examples given by individual commissioners. Lucy passed information on the current state nuisance law to all and stated that the County Executive, Melissa Greene, is determining which counties have an amended nuisance rule/ordinance. Discussion between Terry Harwell, Duane Jones, and Lucy on the role the courts have in enforcing “violations” ensued with some examples, concern that Judges need something to have as county background policies on which to base their decisions, and concerns about what such a regulatory scheme would look like. Several commissioners mentioned gaps within the TCA, e.g. rock crusher, but did not want personal property (residential) included. Industry was discussed but given the industrial park is the general location for those companies and the park falling under the purview of the city of Pulaski, as well as no interest by industry in the county due to lack of sewer and water availability, that discussion was not productive and was discontinued. Gayle Jones mentioned the need for a listing of laws already in place rather than being “blind” in making any determination.
County Executive, Melissa Greene, on receiving an answer back from CTAS during the meeting, shared the following: CTAS had been questioned on are there counties that had zoning, opted out, and replaced with nuisance county amended law. CTAS was not aware of any and additionally commented that judges are not always aware of what would be considered nuisances. Recommended if doing so (developing a county amended nuisance law) , to make it a “bare bones” document.
Several suggestions were made, e.g. an independent board acting as a gatekeeper; update the map currently in the Land Use Management Plan; ask someone like Sam Edwards, a Municipal Technical Advisory Service expert in the field, to write a new plan; and hire someone either full time or part time , or as a consultant to enforce a new regulatory scheme (use fees to cover cost). After a lengthy discussion again focusing on a potential nuisance regulatory scheme and the difficulties in doing so, Chairman Stoney Jackson determined no action was required on developing a nuisance regulatory scheme for the county. Since considerable discussion had also addressed the Land Use Management Plan, Chairman of the Planning Commission, Erin Curry, stated the decision had been made in a previous meeting to rescind that plan, so no further discussion was planned for the upcoming meeting, 3 August 2021.
Old Business – County Attorney Lucy Henson corrected a statement she had provided in a previous meeting. Lincoln County does not have liquor by the drink. Additionally, for Giles County a Referendum for Liquor by the Drink would have to go on the November 2021 ballot.
New Business – Lucy has been contacted by a legal firm on a law suit that is about opioid use but is not covered by the existing one in which Giles County is already involved. Per Lucy there is no upfront cost to the county, but there would be a 20% attorney cost on successful litigation. The upside is funding would come to the county and would probably be earmarked for areas such as education. Motion by Mike Cesarini and seconded by Larry Worsham to opt in. Motion approved 5-2, with Duane Jones voting no (due to limited information available) and Tommy Pollard voting no.
Additional new Business by County Executive Melissa Greene asking all to consider developing rules for charities/non-profits for next budget cycle.
Motion by Duane Jones, seconded by Stoney Jackson to adjourn. Motion approved