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Dandridge, Tennessee

November 28, 2011

Resolution - Draws Lawsuit Against County & Commission
Staff Photo
Open Meeting Act Compliance Also Questioned in Suit

Herb Moncier, attorney for Steve Palmer and Lake Cove Resort and Reality, Inc d/b/a Sherman Oaks Campground and Amphitheater, filed suit on behalf of his client against the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners and Jefferson County, Tennessee. The suit was filed in response to the Commissions passing of a Outdoor Music Event Resolution which requires that any outdoor music event inside the County limits, but outside the City limits, cease to play music at midnight. The issue of a resolution to limit the hours of outdoor music came to the forefront when neighbors of the Sherman Oaks Campground complained about Dexfest, an outdoor multi day music festival. Some neighbors spearheaded a campaign to instigate a music festival ordinance. A committee of citizens brought several drafts of an ordinance proposal before the Public Service Commission and came before the Committee multiple times to plead their case. Their chief complaint was the hours of Dexfest and the volume of the music. Palmer also appeared before the Committee and stated that he did take steps to accommodate neighbors and, in fact, continued the concert in silence via headphones in the early morning hours. The Public Service Committee and the Full Commission passed the Outdoor Music Resolution, which banned any form of outdoor music, or indoor music in a building that was not specifically constructed for music, between the hours of midnight and nine a.m. The Resolution applied to any group that charges admission, sells concessions or receives monetary benefit from the event. Palmer lobbied the Commission to provide some relief for his business through use of headphones, or some other means, and charged that the Commission was constructing a resolution to specifically address Dexfest. Palmer also came before the Beer Board regarding one of his vendors selling beer to a minor. The vendor pled to the charge and Palmer’s Beer license was suspended until later in the spring. Moncier was present at the Beer Board hearing and questioned witnesses regarding the violation. In the suit, Moncier also asserts that the Jefferson County Commission did not adhere to the Open Meeting Act, as well as violating Palmer’s rights with the Outdoor Music Resolution. The suit requests dissolution of the Outdoor Music Resolution as well as court costs, attorney fees and other and further relief as entitled.

IDB Industrial Development Board Seats Filled

County Commission Appoints Jenkins, Miller and Keck

The Jefferson County Commission held their Regular Monthly Meeting on Monday, November 21, 2011 at the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse.  The Meeting was Called to Order by Commission Chairman Mills.  Upon a Motion by Scarlett and 2nd Kesterson the Minutes and Agenda were unanimously approved.

Nine Citizens appeared before the Commission in regard to the acceptance of the donation of the Union Hall for use of a Library in Strawberry Plains. Of the nine speakers, five were in favor of relocating to the Union Hall building and four expressed their desire for the Library to remain at the current location. Axel Ringe, Chairman of the Long Range Planning Committee for the Library Board stated that the Board is in favor of moving the facility to the Union Hall but would request funding from the Commission for the renovations. Others who spoke on both sides of the issue stated that the community is willing to fund the Library project through grants and donations.

The Nominating Committee brought recommendations for the Agriculture Committee and the Industrial Development Board. Confusion regarding seats on the Agriculture Committee resulted in two lists of Committee members. The Nominating Committee Chairman Cureton requested that the Commission confirm the recommended list, as some Committee members have reached their term limit of service. Commissioner Carmichael moved to accept the Nomination Committee’s list of Stooksbury, Hickman, Shannon, Gass, Dockery, Scarlett and Barreiro for the Committee seats. 2nd Tucker - Passed

Committee Chairman Cureton brought a list of recommendations for the three seats on the Industrial Development Board. The Nomination Committee sent four names for consideration - Clampitt, Jenkins, Miller and Jackson. Commission Chairman Mills opened the floor for other nominations and received Sawtelle, Keck and Haston, making seven candidates for three open seats. Commissioner Tucker requested that the candidates present speak to the issue of the proposed Norfolk Southern Intermodal. Most candidates present stated that they did not feel adequately informed on the issue to make a decision at this time, though some did say that they support the project but are unclear about the location.

The Commission approved Jenkins, Miller and Keck to fill the unexpired seats on the Industrial Development Board.

Jefferson County Mayor Palmieri requested that the Commission confirm several appoints to Committees. Birdie Jean French was unanimously reappointed to her Committee seat and upon a Motion from Tucker and 2nd from Solomon Hoagie Snodgrass will fill an opening on the Sanitation Board. Condon Batson was confirmed to a seat on the Planning Commission via a Motion from Tucker and 2nd by Dockery. The Mayor passed out information regarding the Draw Downs on the $16 million School Bond issue and Jefferson County adopting a Private Charter Form of Government. He stated that the County is in the process of considering contracting with Trane for energy upgrades.

Director of Schools Edmonds passed out information concerning the Operational Costs of the new freshman academy and the new elementary school. He projected an increase of $407,922 per year for the new schools. Director Edmonds stated that students would be able to participate in Band, Chorus and JROTC at JCHS, as they will be transported by bus to and from the freshman academy for 1st and 4th periods.

Finance Committee Chairman Griffith brought a recommendation from the Committee for a County Debt Management Policy. The County is mandated to approve a Debt Management Policy by the new year. Resolution 2011-50 ( Debt Management Policy ) meets the minimum requirements by the State. The resolution Passed unanimously.

Chairman of the Budget Committee Scarlett brought three budget amendments as a recommendation from the Budget Committee. Two were considered housekeeping and one regarded accepting $23,984 in additional funds from the Job Grant. All three amendments Passed unanimously. Chairman Scarlett brought a recommendation to change the language on employee bonus for full and part time from 12 consecutive pay checks to one year of employment ( keeping the original dates ), with no change in the parameters of the Bonus plan - Passed.

The Budget Committee recommended that a portion of the $12,000 credit from Appalachian Electric be used for the new E-911, EMA, EMS combination building. Passed unanimously.

Chairman Scarlett stated that the Committee will address funding for paving at the next meeting.

The Budget Committee brought a recommendation to fund a request from Trane for $137,066 plus from fund balance to pay a past due invoice on the Trane account and to be reimbursed by grant and loan funds. Motion Failed.

Facilities Committee Vice Chairman Turner brought a recommendation for Resolution 2011-51 which would add the positions of Director of County Facilities and Jefferson County Schools Facilities to the Committee as ex officio, non voting, members. Commissioner Tucker added an amendment to have the terms of service on the Facilities Committee coincide with other standing committees. 2nd by Hubbard - Passed

Resolution 2011-51, as amended, Passed unanimously.

Commissioner Blevins made a Motion to accept the donation of the Union Hall building for a Library in Strawberry Plains providing that it does not encumber or obligate the County to funding. 2nd Barreiro.  Commission Chairman Mills stated that there is approximately $1600 outstanding in taxes that would have to be addressed. County attorney Churchwell stated that there are avenues to deal with the tax obligation.  Commissioner Turner asked the Union Hall representatives if they would withdraw the offer if it is not acted upon during the November meeting and was informed that the offer would be withdrawn. Blevins's motion Failed.

The schedule of meetings for the Jefferson County Commission was removed for approval pending consultation with the Jefferson County Board of Education Calendar. 

Commissioner Dockery made a motion to task the Budget Committee with bringing back a recommendation or proposal for a Capitol Requests Policy. 2nd Griffith - Passed.

Renovation at Jefferson County High School was passed on to the Budget Committee.  The meeting was Adjourned.

Committee Chairman Ringe Resigns

Axel Ringe, Chairman of the Jefferson County Library Boards Long Range Planning Committee, has resigned his post following the November County Commission meeting. Ringe, who addressed the Commission on behalf of the Library Board, stated in his resignation letter that he felt that he had not been effective as a Chair of the Committee and could not be effective going forward and working with the Commission in the future. Commissioners declined to accept the gift of a Union Hall that was offered as a site to relocate the Strawberry Plains Library. The issue had been the subject of debate, both among the Commission and in the community. The Library Board and citizens contend that current location of the Library is inadequate to meet the needs of the community. The Parrott Family, which own the current building, has offered an extended lease and property for expansion. Opponents of the expansion are wary of dedicating funds to expand a building that is privately owned. Both the Union Hall and the current library site would require significant renovations to bring the facilities up to par. Though the Union Hall is larger than the current location, some residents voiced concerns about relocating to a location on the 4 lane. With the Commission vote last Monday, the Strawberry Plains community and the Jefferson County Library Board must access their options and form a new plan to move forward. In his letter of resignation, Ringe outlined the avenues that are available to the Library Board. He stated that the Library Board does legally have the ability to independently accept the Union Hall, which was their recommendation to the Commission. They would have to find private funding for the renovations to the building and would be responsible for the $1500 in back taxes owed on the building. Ringe said that another option would be to accept a long term lease on the current facility and find private funding for expansion. He stated that the split with in the community, regarding the location of the facility, may have contributed to the Commissions decision to decline the Union Hall building. Ringe suggested that it was possible that the Library Board could wait until the community becomes more cohesive in their request before going back before the Commission for assistance. Inadequacies in the current facility are not new, having plagued the Strawberry Plains community for more than a decade. The Library Board will now be faced with finding a replacement for Ringe as the Chair of the Long Range Planning Committee, as well as identifying a solution to the space needs of the facility.

Governor Haslam Announces 27 Community Development Block Grants in East Tennessee
Grants Assist Communities with Infrastructure Improvements - Jefferson County Receives $315,400 for Water Lines

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty recently approved more than $23 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to assist with infrastructure improvements in Tennessee. The pair announced recipients of the grants in East Tennessee today – West and Middle Tennessee grant recipients were announced earlier this month; a list of these recipients can be found here:

“As we work to make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs, the proper infrastructure must support existing and future businesses,” Haslam said. “I am pleased the state of Tennessee is able to partner with our local communities to make these projects a reality.”

The funds were allocated under a procedure authorized by the Tennessee General Assembly.

“Community development is essential in growing the economy and creating a business friendly environment,” Hagerty said. “CDBG grants allow communities to take the steps needed that will ultimately encourage existing businesses to expand and future companies to relocate and invest in Tennessee.”

Allocation of CDBG funds is based on priorities set at local levels where community needs are best known. The CDBG program is administered in Tennessee by the Department of Economic and Community Development.

Tensions Grow Between United States and Pakistan
By: Jake Depew, Jefferson County Post Staff Writer

Tensions between the United States and Pakistan are on the rise after a NATO attack on a Pakistani military checkpoint on Saturday, November 26, 2011. 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in the attack, with 13 people wounded. Pakistani officials are claiming that the attack showed a disregard for the Pakistani people, and that the attack will negatively affect U.S.-Pakistan relations in the future. NATO has stated that the cause of the attack is currently unknown to them, and that no attack on the checkpoint was intended. Pakistani forces have blocked two major roads from being used by NATO supply convoys. These convoys were being used to supply American forces in the region. The attack was carried out by helicopters, the make of which was not identified, other than their belonging to NATO. In the aftermath of the attack, NATO has publicly stated that it intends to keep working towards political understanding with Pakistan: though Pakistani officials are saying the attack will force a reevaluation of the nation’s relationship with the United States. As of this writing, no details concerning the details of the attack, nor the authorization for it, have been released.

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