Legislative Committee Meeting Minutes
7 July 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, and Brad Butler Other: Melissa Green – County Executive, Lucy Henson – County Attorney, Bill Young, Tammy Pierchoski, Zac Hartos and Melanie Timmons
Chairman Stoney Jackson opened the meeting with Tommy Pollard offering the prayer and leading the pledge. Minutes from the 22 April 2021 meeting were moved for approval by Larry Worsham and seconded by Tommy Pollard. Motion approved.
First Agenda Item – Liquor by the drink. Previously brought up in another meeting by Commissioner Brad Butler, he offered further information. Anchor Ranch (formerly Circle G Ranch) in Lynnville plans to include a restaurant and is desirous of offering liquor by the drink. Brad also sees the approval of liquor by the drink to be beneficial to others, e.e. King B Farm, Corner Pit BBQ, Nick’s and Sarge’s. Further the potential development for Exit 14 would benefit by already having in place this approval which without could delay or stop other businesses from being interested in the Exit. Gayle Jones asked if discussion with those mentioned had happened and Brad said not all, but mentioned had with Corner Pit BBQ and through second info, Nick’s. Attorney Lucy Henson gave some background on the subject saying the City of Pulaski had in 2003 authorized liquor by the drink and in 2004 a Resolution set the hours consistent with ABC guidelines. For the county to approve would require a referendum (in 2022) which would have to obtain 2/3 approval of commissioners. Lucy had been in contact with Ryan Mercurio, Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC) Counsel for Metropolitan Area. He gave the following information: For example – Surrounding counties and cities have liquor by the drink: Lincoln in 2016; Lewis County 2014; cities – Ardmore (yes) , Minor Hill (yes), Pulaski (yes) and Elkton (no) . Further any city can choose to opt out within a county. Some discussion on whether you need both a beer license and by the drink license with examples being given that if you have a liquor by the drink would include being able to sell beer as well. Regardless this action would require a referendum leaving it up to the Giles citizens which would then go through the ABC. Judy Pruett asked if ever on ballot before (no) . Stoney recommended this agenda item be approved. Joyce moved and Duane seconded a motion to send to full commission. Motion approved.
Second Agenda Item – Historic Properties Tax Breaks. Attorney Lucy Henson stated this was discussed in March and she now has the following information. Certain historical properties owned by charitable institutions are exempt from property taxation if the provisions of T.C.A. § 67-5-222 are adopted in a resolution by a two-thirds vote of the county legislative body. Those properties must meet four major restrictions. In addition property owned by nonprofit community and performing arts organizations and used by them or other nonprofit community and performing arts organizations is eligible for property tax exemption as a charitable or educational use of property. The compliance for this Tennessee Code is more restrictive than the historical property code. Concerns were raised over tax revenue lost and potential use by individuals to avoid paying the tax. However no specific data has been developed. Review of the historical register showed 34 properties but Lucy stated not an inclusive register nor could she affirm the accuracy. Joyce Woodard mentioned of only two in the performing arts, i.e. STAAR and the dance studio. Others mentioned that homes were on the register and in all likelihood would not meet the requirements. David Wamble asked what started this discussion and Lucy said STAAR had asked if possible. David Adams mentioned that several years back freezing property taxes for seniors had been supported by citizens but commissioners had not acted upon that, so he didn’t think should be approved for performing arts. A motion by Joyce Woodard and seconded by Judy Pruett to send to full commission the performing arts section. Motion approved 6/1 with Tommy Pollard voting no. Lucy then stated due to the upcoming time and notification requirements she would not have a resolution for July but with plans for August.
Third Agenda Item – Probation. County Executive Melissa Greene stated the county needed a formal decision, and that since April there have been no guidance on misdemeanors. Also the budget does not include funding for probation. Melissa recommended no probation for misdemeanors until end of the year given that the current situation is being handled by judges. Those cases are either reset, have small jail sentence or community service documented. As for lost revenue, Lucy stated probably would take a couple of years to see impact. And for crowding of the jail, that is not happening since at this time there are between 85 – 100 inmates in a jail capable of holding 124. A motion was made by Larry Worsham and seconded by Tommy Pollard to leave alone until better understand revenue. Mike Cesarini asked if this would put us in a violation and Lucy answered no. Larry asked if the Sheriff is OK with this and answer yes. Motion approved.
Roger Reedy asked if video conferencing might continue to assist with the transportation time for inmated and cost. Lucy answered that it might violate constitutional rights without the individual being able to face their accuser. Melissa mentioned that with grant funding both audio and visual technology will be put into place reducing the need to transport. David Wamble asked this be discussed again in six months. Lucy informed the commissioners that she will keep them abreast of any new information.
Old Business – None
New Business – Brad mentioned changing the full commission meeting to 6:00 so that day workers could attend (based on requests from within his District). Stoney stated always left up to chair. Some comments: have tried before and failed within this committee. Different hours affect different groups of people, e.g. night shift employees. Although no motion made, voting showed a 4-3 against bringing up to full commission with Stoney, Duane, Tommy, and Joyce voting no.
Nepotism – Larry Worsham asked if any reason why bringing this topic to the committee. Stoney, other counties and our school system does have a policy and this would only affect new hires. Later discussion indicated also would affect a supervision situation. Gayle Jones asked if would apply to all departments (yes). Melissa mentioned that if proceed that the wording should be carefully thought through, given the ambulance has some family members employed together. However their supervision is not within a family. Terry Harwell mentioned that in the past some quid pro quo might have happened with two departments. Joyce moved and Tommy seconded that should leave alone. Motion approved .
Motion to adjourn made by Joyce Woodard seconded by Tommy Pollard. Approved.