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Clarksville, TN – The Clarksville City Council met in its usual first Thursday of the month regular session. It was a light agenda with several items of note.
Ordinance 4-2012-13 — This dealt with sale and use of alcoholic beverages in Clarksville City Parks. It establishes guidelines and permits on the selling and usage of alcoholic beverages at specific park facilities during special events, concerts, festivals, parties, weddings, etc.The permits and sales of such beverages will offset the costs (along with the rental of pavilions) of park maintenance and assist in the acquisition of park amenities. It also allows the city to better monitor such events.
It passed in a 7-yes & 5-no vote. I voted yes.
Clarksville City Charter
The Clarksville City Charter was up for a final vote after being approved at the state level. It barely passed to go forward to the state for review this past spring. As readers will recall this has been a battle for years. Readers know the battles I have fought for in the charter and the concerns I have expressed over time.
If you recall the effort last year (2011) by the committee I chaired, we tried to update the charter with issues that had caused concern in the past efforts and new issues that had surfaced during the last mayoral election. Mayor McMillan canned that committee last August (as it was about to finish its work) due to issues such as mayoral runoffs and limiting mayoral voting to breaking ties being brought up.
The charter lay dormant until November/December of 2011 when it was discovered (after 50 years) that city committees could not have citizens on them that do business with the city. Thus, many citizens resigned from these committees so they could keep doing business with the city.
Then all the sudden the mayor decreed that these committees could not operate due to the loss of these particular citizens and we must have a new charter to fix that. The “spin” was on how important it was we now move full speed ahead on a new charter (after wasting almost five months of not thinking about the charter at all), but with a different charter committee. A number of council members found it interesting that out of a city with 133,000 people we cannot find a few dozen to sit on committees that don’t do business with the city.
The same issues that were brought up by the canned 2011 committee resurfaced again in the Mayor’s new 2012 committee. The “spin” to avoid or delay those same unwanted issues was we did not have time to fully study them and meet the state assembly’s review schedule of May. The Mayor was able to get enough committee support to shelve several of these issues until a later date.
Several council members (including me) advised the mayor and committee, at several charter meetings, that the deferral of important charter issues or the effort to maintain an imbalance in executive (mayoral) power over legislative (council) and judicial (city judge) were going to be “show stoppers” for receiving full support. The city judge was also on record with concerns about the lack of corrective actions needed to better separate the powers of the different offices.
Thursday night’s vote was the “show stopper” as the council was not able to muster the 2/3s vote required to pass the proposed city charter. The vote was 8-yes & 5-no. I voted no. Nine yes votes are required for passage of a charter. For now the charter is back in limbo.
Our local state representatives requested this resolution and Mayor McMillan sponsored it. It requested our permission for the state (TDOT) to study a possible road that would connect Memorial Drive Extension (near Richview Middle School) to Hwy 76/MLK (likely across from the access to the Wal-Mart, Pizza Hurt, and car dealer).
This would be at no cost to the city and would not infer that this was the top road project for the city. It passed in a 7-yes & 5-no vote. I voted yes.
Several concerns/questions surfaced on this resolution, as it is in my ward. A question of did the state really need permission from the city to actually do the study. The answer provided was no. However, since this study connected a state road with a city road and other municipal properties were close by it was labeled more as a courtesy.
From information I have it seemed this issue had bounced between the mayor’s office and the Street Committee for several months. Neither seemed very excited to support it.
The question was raised would this obligate the city to funding some portion of the road if the state thought it was a good idea. It is not uncommon for such actions to have a financial split between state and local governments.
However, this was not on the city radar of importance and was not in the Top 10 items of pressing needs in my ward. Because of this I told nearby residents, affected by this study, I will not support spending any city money for this road.
However, a feasibility study by the state could answer questions about such a connection whether built by the state or private means. Structure, design, traffic loads, points of access and other issues may be highlighted that would provide the city and area residents with solid data to make better decisions.
This would be data our Planning Commission and Clarksville Street Department would need to study such a road, if developed privately. Thus, some savings in time and money for these two departments would result form a state study.
There was a concern that this was a political favor for a private citizen(s). I have no information to support such a concern nor was any presented at the council meeting. Only the local state representatives who requested the resolution, the mayor (who sponsored it) and the property owners involved can answer that. Although the mayor sponsored the resolution, she did not cast a “yes” vote to support it.
This resolution was requested by the Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce to show city support to stop congressional action that will require large mandatory cuts to the nation’s military budget. Those cuts would, in turn, likely affect Fort Campbell.
The resolution passed in a 12-yes vote. Although Mayor McMillan sponsored the resolution she did not cast a “yes” vote as a show of support for this measure and Fort Campbell.
Bill Summers is the City Councilman for Ward 10 in Clarksville, TN.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of the City of Clarksville or Clarksville Online.
Web Site: http://www.cityofclarksville.com/
Topicsalcohol, City Council Regular Session, Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce, Clarksville City Charter, Clarksville City Council, Clarksville Mayor, Clarksville Street Department, Clarksville TN, Clarksville-Montgomery County Regional Planning Commission, Concerts, Fort Campbell KY, Hwy 76, Kim McMillan, Martin Luther King Parkway, Memorial Drive, Pizza Hut, Richview Middle School, TDOT, Tennessee Department of Transportation, Walmart
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