Clarksville, TN – From seeking a Military Affairs Commission to calling for progress on a truckload of important road projects, City Council members are ready to present their list of legislative priorities to lawmakers who represent Clarksville and Montgomery County in the Tennessee General Assembly.
The Clarksville City Council and Montgomery County Commission have developed distinct legislative agendas and will present them at a joint reception for lawmakers September 24th. On roads needs, the two local governments plan to present a nearly identical list of projects that both agree need action.
Local leaders have invited District 22 State Sen. Bill Powers; Deputy House Speaker and District 68 Rep. Curtis Johnson; District 67 Rep. Jason Hodges; and District 74 Rep. Jay Reedy to receive and discuss the lists.
Ward 12 Councilman Jeff Burkhart chaired the City’s Ad-Hoc Legislative Committee, which included Ward 3 Councilman Ron Erb and Ward 10 Councilwoman Stacey Streetman. The committee sought input from City Council members, Department Heads and the public on recommended local issues and priorities for the Legislature.
The full City Council reviewed and endorsed the committee’s work at the September 5th City Council meeting.
Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts formed the committee in March to work on the City’s legislative agenda to present to local state lawmakers. The City committee was modeled on the structure Montgomery County government has used for several years to identify topics the County Commission wants local legislators to carry forward at the Statehouse.
Here is the City’s legislative agenda for state lawmakers:
- Approve a measure that would allow the City to increase the administrative processing fee to $10.00 per transaction on Tennessee Department of Motor Vehicle services.
Customers now pay $4.00 in addition to the drivers license renewal fee for the convenience of using the City Hall DMV satellite location.
- Support full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund program.
Counties and cities use this grant program to create parks and recreation opportunities. Clarksville has benefited from these grants in the past and wants the program to be fully funded to provide resources to add facilities to meet the demand created by community growth.
- Create a Military Affairs Commission for the state of Tennessee.
The multi-billion dollar impact of Fort Campbell and other military-related investments in Tennessee require creation of a cabinet-level, stand-alone commission to support military affairs in Tennessee, the City Council says in its proposed agenda. A state Military Affairs Commission was eliminated in 2008-09 because of inactivity.
- Establish a penalty for a registered vehicle owner failing to act responsibly when the vehicle flees from law enforcement.
It is a class E felony to flee from a lawful traffic stop, but Clarksville has a restrictive pursuit policy. Operators who flee recklessly often aren’t charged because they can’t be identified, but the vehicle often can be identified. This provision, if approved, would allow law enforcement to ticket the vehicle’s registered owner for failure to act responsibly, which would mean points could be assessed against that owner’s license.
- Support legislation to create a tax credit to protect and preserve historic buildings.
Legislation is needed to create state tax credits to promote rehabilitation and preservation of qualifying historic buildings. The “Historic Rehabilitation Investment Incentive Act,” filed in 2017, is recommended as a starting point.
Roads Get Joint Attention
Both City and County committees came up with an agreed list of roads projects that “support the region and state economic vitality by enabling competitiveness, productivity and efficiency.”
The City Ad-Hoc Legislative Agenda committee grouped projects into three categories, roughly described as new priorities, ongoing projects with Improve Act funding that have moved through various stages of planning, and “needed projects” that have been subject to varying levels of planning and funding but are not on the Improve Act list.
New Road Projects
The Agenda “encourages the Tennessee Department of Transportation to obligate funding” for these road projects.
- Widening of Interstate 24 from Exit 11 to Nashville.
- Continuation of Warfield Boulevard (SR 374) from Dunbar Cave Road to Madison Street (SR 112).
Improve Act Road Projects
The Agenda calls for TDOT to “continue support and ensure funding for timely completion of these Improve Act projects:”
- Trenton Road (SR 48) from 101st Parkway (SR 374) to near I-24.
- SR 374 extension from Dotsonville Road to SR 149.
- SR 374 extension from Dotsonville Road to Dover Road (US 79/SR 76).
- I-24 widening from Kentucky State Line to SR 76/Exit 11.
Needed Road Projects
- Wilma Rudolph Boulevard (SR 13) from Holiday Drive to Alfred Thun Road.
The Legislative Agenda encourages TDOT to issue construction bids as scheduled for December 2019, and recommends safety improvements to make a double-lane eastbound off ramp, install a traffic signal and provide more vehicle space under the interchange for the I-24 westbound on-ramp.
Combine as one project Madison Street (SR 112) and Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway (SR 76) intersection, sidewalks and service roads.
The Agenda notes funding for this project was included in the FY2017-2020 state Transportation Improvement Plan and urges TDOT to issue construction bids as scheduled in August 2020.