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MINUTES OF THE 

TENNESSEE ADVISORY COMMISSION 

ON INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS 

21 August 2013 

Meeting Called to Order 

The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations met in Legislative Plaza 

Room 30 at 1:10 p.m., Chairman Mark NORRIS presiding. 

 

Present 20 



Absent 4 

Mayor Tommy Bragg 

Mayor Troy Beets 

County Mayor Ernest Burgess 

Mr. Charles Cardwell 

Representative Mike Carter 

Representative Gary Odom 

Mr. Rozelle Criner 

Councilmember Kay Senter 

Ms. Paula Davis 

 

County Mayor Brent Greer 



 

Representative Ryan Haynes 

 

Senator Douglas Henry 



 

County Executive Jeff Huffman 

 

Senator James Kyle 



 

County Mayor Kenny McBride 

 

Mr. Iliff McMahan 



 

Senator Randy McNally 

 

Senator Mark Norris 



 

Mayor Tom Rowland 

 

Representative Charles Sargent 



 

Mr. Tommy Schumpert 

 

Senator Jim Tracy 



 

County Mayor Larry Waters 

 

Comptroller Justin Wilson



1

 

 



                                                           

1

Phillip Doss represented Justin Wilson 



 

 

226 Capitol Boulevard Bldg., Suite 508 



Nashville, Tennessee  37243-0760 

Phone: (615) 741-3012 

Fax: (615) 532-2443 

www.tn.gov/tacir 




 

TACIR 


 



1.



 

Call to Order and Approval of the Minutes 

Chairman NORRIS called the meeting to order at 1:10 p.m. and requested approval of the 

minutes.  A motion to adopt the minutes was made by Mr. MCMAHAN, seconded by Mayor 

ROWLAND, and passed unanimously. 



2.

 

Commission Update 

Chairman NORRIS, remarking on the death of Representative LOIS DEBERRY, spoke of her 

exceptional service to the citizens of Tennessee.  He asked that everyone stand as TACIR’s 

Deputy Executive Director, Dr. CLIFF LIPPARD, read a commission resolution recognizing the 

exemplary life of this extraordinary public servant and individual.  Chairman NORRIS moved 

adoption of the resolution, saying it captured the essence of what we are otherwise unable to 

put into words.  Mayor ROWLAND seconded the motion, and the resolution was adopted 

unanimously.  Chairman NORRIS added that Representative DEBERRY’S husband and family 

would receive a copy of the resolution.   

3.

 

Presentation by Mr. Nathan SHAVER, Research Associate, of Background on Insurance 

and Surety Bond Legislation  

Mr. SHAVER presented background information on Senate Bill 624, sent to TACIR by the 

Senate State and Local Government Committee with instructions to study whether insurance 

would be a suitable alternative to the public official surety bonds currently required.  He 

indicated that the large majority of the positions that require surety bonds are at the county 

level.  He provided definitions of common terminology, some of which is confusing, followed 

by a summary of the state’s current law on surety bonds.  

Mr. SHAVER explained how the price of a surety bond is determined.  He said that the 

coverage provided by the bond is very broad and discussed how insurance compared as a 

substitute for individual surety bonds covering public officials as described in Senate Bill 624.  

He concluded the presentation with a brief explanation of Arkansas’s and Idaho’s systems, 

which have coverage methods other than surety bonds to cover their public officials.  Arkansas 

has a mandatory “Self-Insured Fidelity Bond Program” while Idaho allows for optional 

insurance coverage in lieu of surety bonds. 

Mayor HUFFMAN asked about the fiscal note on the bill.  Mr. SHAVER replied that dollar 

amount was considered indeterminable by the Fiscal Review Committee staff. 

Chairman NORRIS requested that the Commission hear from proponents of the bill and others 

parties such as Commerce and Insurance at the October meeting.  Executive Director 

ROEHRICH-PATRICK noted that the staff would move the draft presentation of the report 

from the October agenda to the December agenda in order to be able to do that. 




 

TACIR 


 



4.



 

Municipal Boundary Changes and Comprehensive Growth plans, Public Chapter 441, 

Acts of 2013 

Presentation by Ms. Leah ELDRIDGE, Research Manager, on other states’ annexation 

laws: 

Ms. ELDRIDGE presented preliminary information about annexation laws in other states.  The 

majority of states require consent from voters or owners in areas where annexation is 

proposed.  In some states, a third party must approve an annexation before it goes to the 

voters.  Many of the annexation-by-consent states authorize annexation without consent in 

limited circumstances.  Ms. ELDRIDGE also summarized other states’ laws on notice and public 

hearings on annexations.  Tennessee requires one public hearing before annexation and does 

not require any public informational hearings.  Twenty-nine states require at least one public 

hearing. 

Ms. ELDRIDGE summarized other states’ laws on plans of service, addressing provisions in 

Senate Bill 1054.  Twenty-four states require cities to provide plans of services before an 

annexation.  Regarding Senate Bill 1316 and the annexation of agricultural land, Ms. ELDRIDGE 

noted that nine states limit the annexation of agricultural lands. 

Public Chapter 441 directed TACIR to study not just annexation but also deannexation, mutual 

adjustment of boundaries, and city mergers.  Ms. ELDRIDGE discussed how those issues are 

addressed in other states, as well as current Tennessee laws.  

Mayor BRAGG asked whether staff had found other states that are currently going through the 

same type of study.  Ms. ELDRIDGE replied that she was not aware of any, but that North 

Carolina had very recently made many changes. 

Representative SARGENT asked why Tennessee was included in the chart showing states 

requiring referendum for annexation.  Ms. ELDRIDGE clarified that Tennessee was included 

because cities may choose to put annexations to referendum. 

Senator HENRY asked whether the National League of Cities or National Association of 

Counties had positions on this issue.  [Neither group has a current policy or position available 

regarding the requirement of referendum for annexations.] 

Senator McNALLY noted that Tennessee is on the low end for notice requirements and asked 

about mail notification.  Ms. ELDRIDGE noted where the chart reflects mail notification and 

confirmed that Tennessee’s requirements for notice are at the low end of all states. 

At Mayor ROWLAND’s request, Ms. ELDRIDGE explained that islands are areas of 

unincorporated territory completely surrounded by a city.  Mayor BRAGG asked whether 

Tennessee law currently requires annexation of islands.  Ms. ELDRIDGE responded that it does 

not and that some other states merely permit annexation of islands without consent.  Ms. 

ELDRIDGE confirmed that it is possible to have an unincorporated island in Tennessee. 

County Executive HUFFMAN asked whether, when a city proposes deannexation, it has to 

have approval by three-quarters of the entire city or just within the affected territory.  [Tenn. 



 

TACIR 


 

Code Ann. § 6-51-201 provides two methods for deannexation, one of which puts the matter to 



a vote by the entire city and requires three-fourths approval to pass.  The other allows for a 

vote by only residents of the area to be deannexed. The city must provide notice and hold a 

public hearing for a deannexation ordinance.  If the city legislative body approves the 

ordinance, then the voters within the affected area get 75 days to petition for a referendum.  If 

the petition is signed by 10% of the registered voters in the area, then a referendum among 

just the voters in the affected area is held.  In this case, a simple majority is all that is required 

to approve the deannexation.] 

Presentation by Mr. Bill TERRY, Senior Research Consultant, on other states’ laws related 

to growth boundaries and planning: 

Mr. TERRY discussed and defined urban growth boundaries (UGBs).  In general, an urban 

growth boundary is a line around a municipality that separates urbanization from rural areas, 

used to encourage growth inside the boundary area and discourage growth in the rural area.  

Mr. TERRY noted several unique aspects of Tennessee’s growth boundary laws, including the 

designation of planned growth areas, county coordinating committees, and joint economic 

and community development boards. 

Mr. TERRY also noted the 15-year tax benefit to the counties upon annexation of revenue-

producing properties and explained that, while the law requires all counties to have a growth 

plan that incorporates UGBs and rural areas, and may include planned growth areas, there is 

no connection between that and the planning provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 

13.  Responding to a question from Chairman NORRIS, Mr. TERRY said that in 2014, Blount, 

Grainger, Madison, Robertson, Sevier, Tipton, and Washington counties will begin to lose 

revenue they have continued to receive from areas annexed in 1999.  The total amount 

estimated by the Department of Revenue for those counties was a little over $601,000.  Mayor 

HUFFMAN asked whether that total included wholesale beer taxes.  Mr. TERRY said no. 

Chairman NORRIS asked where Tennessee’s laws on home rule fit into the discussion.  Mr. 

TERRY responded that there are two counties and 14 cities with home rule charters.  He added 

that there is a provision in Tennessee that home rule powers cannot override general law.  

County Executive HUFFMAN asked whether a home rule city can extend planning and zoning 

authority beyond its UGB in the county if the county has zoning.  Mr. TERRY said no. 

Mr. TERRY then discussed processes to amend growth plans.  Two bills referred to TACIR for 

study—Senate Bill 613 (House Bill 1035) and Senate Bill 732 (House Bill 231)—would have an 

effect on amending growth plans.  Under current law, Tennessee may amend the growth 

boundaries as often as desired or not at all.  Approximately 25 counties have revised their 

growth plans since their initial adoption. 

Mayor HUFFMAN asked whether, under Senate Bill 613, the requirement remains for all cities 

and counties involved to approve the change.  Mr. TERRY said yes, all members of the 

coordinating committee have to agree for LGPAC to approve the plan. 

Mayor WATERS said that under the current law a city or county may propose amendments to 

the boundary and file notice but asked whether the law says what happens if a city or county 



 

TACIR 


 

chooses not to respond to the notice.  Mr. TERRY did not know of any consequence.  [Section 



(d)(1) of Tenn. Code Ann. § 6-58-104 says that “…the county mayor or county executive shall 

take appropriate action to reconvene or reestablish the coordinating committee within sixty 

(60) days…”  It also says, “It is the duty of the coordinating committee to submit the proposed 

amendment with its recommendation either for or against the amendment to the county 

legislative body and to the governing body of each municipality within the county for their 

approval or disapproval within six (6) months of the date of the coordinating committee's first 

meeting on the proposed amendment.”  No recourse is defined if the county executive fails to 

act.]   

Mr. TERRY summarized other states’ requirements for amending growth plans.  Some states 

require periodic revision of plans, while others’ laws are merely permissive and plans may be 

amended at any time. 

Senator HENRY asked and Mr. TERRY answered that these bills would have no application to 

counties with a metropolitan form of government. 

Representative SARGENT asked Mr. TERRY how many counties have planning commissions 

and how many zone land use.  Mr. TERRY said approximately 70 counties have planning 

commissions and that approximately 47 counties have zoning.  Representative SARGENT 

asked for the same information for cities.  Mr. TERRY responded that most do have planning 

commissions and zoning but he would get the exact numbers on this.  The ones that would not 

would be the very small cities.  [Most counties (78) have active planning commissions

including the three metropolitan governments; 48 have adopted zoning.  The majority of 

Tennessee’s 347 cities are served by a municipal (266 including municipal-designated-

regional), metropolitan (3), or joint city-county (5 commissions serving 10 cities including the 

Shelby-Memphis commission created by private act) planning commission, for a total of 279. 

Another 4 cities have agreements with other city or county planning commissions to represent 

them.  Of these 283 cities, 266 have zoning ordinances—enforced by 261 different planning 

commissions.] 

Presentations by County Government Panelists: 

Shelby County Mayor Mark LUTTRELL 

Mayor LUTTRELL spoke of the contentious annexation issues around Memphis in Shelby 

County.  After talking to mayors and planners in his county, they agree that PC 1101 is solid but 

has some issues to address.  He finds consensus there to support requiring referendums for 

annexation and supports that change.  The mayor believes involuntary annexation deprives 

due process and is undemocratic.  Requiring referendum for annexation would put that policy 

in line with laws for incorporating new cities. 

Mayor LUTTRELL stressed the need for cities to be able to recoup infrastructure investments 

in unincorporated areas, as well as extraterritorial planning and zoning jurisdiction issues as 

they relate to growth boundaries. 




 

TACIR 


 



Williamson County Mayor Rogers ANDERSON 

Mayor ANDERSON began by saying PC 1101 is an improvement over past practices, lending 

predictability to future land use and infrastructure planning.  It has fostered cooperation 

among the six municipalities in Williamson County.  The main flaws in the law are the burden 

of amending growth boundaries coupled with a failure to establish reasonable boundaries.  As 

plans age and cities grow, nobody wants to go through the revision process.  He would also like 

some flexibility in projecting population growth when setting boundaries. 

Addressing specific legislation sent to TACIR for study, Mayor ANDERSON noted the difficulty 

specifying “agricultural use” in different counties.  He found the proposal for extended notice 

and three informational meetings to be excessive.  The Mayor does not support the need to 

require referendums for annexations.  He believes that the current system works for 

Williamson County and that perhaps problems with the system are more local than statewide.   

When asked by Chairman NORRIS and Mayor WATERS to elaborate on his positions, Mayor 

ANDERSON reiterated the sense of cooperation and ability to communicate between 

Williamson County and city leaders.  He stressed that things work well in his area. 

Asked by Chairman NORRIS whether, if things work so well in Williamson County, that would 

not mean that referendums for annexation would be easy to pass, Mayor ANDERSON said he 

understood that view.  Representative SARGENT added that it might make more sense for 

counties with annexation problems to look to Williamson County for guidance rather than 

change the system. 

Rodney CARMICAL, Executive Director, Tennessee County Highway Officials Association 

Mr. CARMICAL presented issues he and county highway officials have with how municipal 

boundaries are established and changed through annexation and deannexation and the effect 

that has on infrastructure maintenance.  Highway officials generally are not concerned with 

how annexation is approved—by referendum or without—but PC 1101 failed to stop strip 

annexation and other irregularities.  He presented five cases where cities have deannexed 

roads in need of repair, avoided annexing aging bridges, or used other means to annex desired 

properties while avoiding the cost of maintaining infrastructure adjacent to those properties.  

He had understood that PC 1101 was supposed to address these problems.  Mayor ROWLAND 

and Mr. CARMICAL discussed how these boundary irregularities affect emergency services, 

making it often difficult to determine who should respond. 

Fayette County Mayor Rhea “Skip” TAYLOR 

Mayor TAYLOR noted that Fayette County has been very involved in growth and annexation 

issues.  As they try to look to the future, they have had county zoning and planning.  The 

county experienced a lot of migration from Memphis and Shelby County and was instrumental 

in the “Tiny Towns” law in 1997.  Implementing PC 1101 was difficult in Fayette County; it was 

the only county to go through mediation and arbitration and have its boundaries set by a 

judge.  While there are many issues to address, they are wary of opening up the amendment 

process. 




 

TACIR 


 

Like Mayor ANDERSON, Mayor TAYLOR commented on the difficulty of defining and 



protecting agricultural land when different counties zone in many ways.  Mayor TAYLOR 

supports extending notice for annexations but does not want too many meetings.  The mayor 

expressed support for requiring referendums for annexation.  He believes people deserve a say 

in the matter.  Addressing the issue of cities extending utilities, though, is important. 



Tennessee County Commissioners Association, David CONNOR, Executive Director 

Mr. CONNOR said that city and county governments, though both local governments, are in 

some ways very different.  Counties are a default level of basic government, while cities 

incorporate by choice.  Annexation affects counties because they can lose revenue from situs-

based taxes.  The 15-year “hold harmless” provision in PC 1101 was important; it stabilized 

county revenue and took away cities’ incentive to annex for immediate financial gain.  This 

timeframe is beginning to expire for some annexations, and counties need to be aware.  

Annexation affects counties’ ability to provide services.  Irregular boundary lines, corridor 

annexation, and donut holes create inefficiencies.  Mr. CONNOR noted that the method of 

annexation—with or without a referendum—might not matter to counties.  Cities could still 

create irregular boundaries and corridors in order to annex only residents willing to support 

annexation. 

Mr. CONNOR said that he experienced the conflicts that existed before PC 1101 and that most 

counties and cities get along better today.  The desire for change is coming from counties 

where there is still frustration.  Each county has its own priorities.  He stressed the importance 

of being able to extend infrastructure efficiently for development. 

Vice-Chairman ROWLAND asked Mr. CONNOR whether fire protection and ratings enter into 

annexation considerations for counties.  Mr. CONNOR responded that he has not seen a lot of 

that.  Many counties work with municipalities to extend fire protection into unincorporated 

areas. 


Washington County Highway Superintendent John DEAKINS 

Mr. DEAKINS presented the difficulties highway officials have dealing with annexation by cities 

around county infrastructure.  He detailed inconsistent ways that Johnson City has annexed in 

Washington County.  Sometimes cities annex county road rights-of-way to get to other areas, 

and that leaves county residents dependent on the city to maintain the road in front of their 

house though they do not pay taxes to that city to support road maintenance.  Sometimes 

cities avoid annexing certain infrastructure to avoid maintaining it.  Mr. DEAKINS noted that if 

the city wants to build its tax base, it should annex the property and roads in the donut holes 

where it has established infrastructure.  Mr. DEAKINS showed six exhibits of inconsistent and 

unfavorable practices by Johnson City.  He expressed frustration about lack of communication. 

Chairman NORRIS thanked Mr. DEAKINS for his presentation and asked the commissioners 

whether anyone had questions for the panelists. 

Senator KYLE noted that there are two issues—one is people’s lifestyle, the other is economic.  

People do not want where they live to change.  Cities also want to invest in development.  We 




 

TACIR 


 

need to be sure referendums will not harm that.  Mayor TAYLOR responded that most cases 



with a willing landowner are easy.  People who do not want to be in the city deserve a voice but 

should not prevent business from growing.  Mayor LUTTRELL added that infrastructure 

investment was the key issue, but it was not a focus of PC 1101.  Senator KYLE said that cities 

sometimes invest in infrastructure before knowing how that land will develop.  If they are not 

able to annex that land, they will hesitate to extend services.  Mayor LUTTRELL noted that 

rates and payment for delivery of services does recoup some of that expense, but the problem 

is the ability to plan. 

Mayor WATERS said we need citizens’ input, but there will still be problems with irregular 

annexation.  He also urged balance between citizen input and economic development needs. 

Mr. DEAKINS again stressed communication.  He also noted that developers pay fees for 

infrastructure connection, and users pay rates, and that is how to recoup costs.  He wants cities 

to take care of what they have before annexing more. 

Chairman NORRIS asked Mayor ANDERSON to speak about cooperation in Williamson 

County.  The Mayor talked about memoranda of understanding and mutual aid agreements 

with cities.  They communicate regularly and focus on schools and education.  He added that 

he does not disagree with what happens in different communities, he just knows what works in 

Williamson County. 

Senator KYLE asked whether there are counties providing water and sewer.  David CONNOR 

said that maybe one or two do so.  Mayor WATERS said that Sevier County is one of them. 

Mayor ROWLAND asked about animal control.  Mayor ANDERSON said the county operates 

animal control both outside and in the cities.  Mr. DEAKINS said Washington County animal 

control is governed jointly by the county and Johnson City.  Mayor LUTTRELL said that three 

cities have animal control, but his county does not. 

Senator McNALLY asked whether counties should get to approve deannexations from cities.  

Mr. CONNOR said yes, especially in cases of infrastructure.  Mr. DEAKINS added that cities 

dodge their responsibility to repair infrastructure.  Mayor ANDERSON then spoke about how 

Williamson County and the City of Brentwood came to an agreement over a bridge and 

railroad tracks and how the cities in his county make payments to the county school system as 

examples of how things work for them. 

Chairman NORRIS thanked all the panelists and adjourned the meeting at 3:45 p.m. 

 

 



 

TACIR 


 

 



 

 

 



 

 

 



 

 

 



 

MINUTES OF THE 

TENNESSEE ADVISORY COMMISSION 

ON INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS 

22 August 2013 

Meeting Called to Order 

The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations met in Legislative Plaza 

Room 30 at 8:35 a.m., Chairman Mark NORRIS presiding. 

 

Present 18 

Absent 6 

Mayor Tommy Bragg 

Mayor Troy Beets 

County Mayor Ernest Burgess 

Representative Gary Odom 

Mr. Charles Cardwell 

Representative Charles Sargent 

Representative Mike Carter 

Councilmember Kay Senter 

Mr. Rozelle Criner 

Senator Jim Tracy 

Ms. Paula Davis 

Mr. Justin Wilson 

County Mayor Brent Greer 

 

Representative Ryan Haynes 



 

Senator Douglas Henry 

 

County Executive Jeff Huffman 



 

Senator Jim Kyle 

 

County Mayor Kenny McBride 



 

Mr. Iliff McMahan 

 

Senator Randy McNally 



 

Senator Mark Norris 

 

Mayor Tom Rowland 



 

Mr. Tommy Schumpert 

 

Mayor Larry Waters 



 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 



226 Capitol Boulevard Bldg., Suite 508 

Nashville, Tennessee  37243-0760 

Phone: (615) 741-3012 

Fax: (615) 532-2443 

www.tn.gov/tacir 



 

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1.

 

Call to Order 

Chairman NORRIS called the meeting to order at 8:35 a.m. and invited the city panelists to 

begin their presentations on municipal boundary changes and comprehensive growth plans. 

2.

 

Municipal Boundary Changes and Comprehensive Growth Plans, Public Chapter 441, 

Acts of 2013 (continued) 

Presentations by Municipal Government Panelists: 

Jeff FLEMING, Assistant City Manager of Kingsport 

Mr. FLEMING stated that Kingsport has annexed 20,000 people and invested tens of millions of 

dollars to provide efficient services to all neighborhoods.  People find Tennessee affordable to 

move to, and growth policy helps that.  Requiring referendums may cause harm by 

complicating the growth process and increasing the cost to provide services.  All residents 

were represented when the growth plans were created, and PC 1101 has worked well for most 

places.  He believes that giving people the right to vote on every growth issue will cripple the 

Tennessee’s economy. 



David GORDON, Mayor of Covington 

Mayor GORDON said that questions have arisen from the lack of clarity in the language of the 

moratorium.  He believes that the certainty provided under PC 1101 benefits everybody.  We 

succeeded in creating an environment of planned, responsible, intentional, and orderly 

growth.  It helps cities plan ahead for growth.  With referendums, municipal limits would be 

determined by unwilling property owners.  Cities would be reluctant to invest outside their 

borders.  Property owners seeking annexation would face difficulty if unwilling owners 

separated them from the city. 



Tom BICKERS, Mayor of Louisville 

Mayor BICKERS stated that PC 1101 is much better than what we had before.  He presented six 

common arguments against the current way of annexation and explained why those 

arguments are incorrect.  Annexation is not a “taking”.  There is no due process right to vote on 

whether you are annexed.  Property owners within the UGB were notified that their property 

was subject to annexation 15 years ago.  The legislative body of the county approved the plan. 

They had representation and avenues in court.  Governments should protect some individual 

rights.  Government authority should also protect the many from the few.  We should do only 

what we need to do to solve the problem; he described PC 1101 as “using a sledgehammer to 

kill a gnat.” 



Bill HAMMON, Assistant City Manager of Alcoa 

Mr. HAMMON spoke about issues with properties straddling UGBs.  The process for amending 

the boundary is too cumbersome for these simple cases.  He expressed difficulty with cities 

that straddle county lines being able to grow in the county in which they have a smaller 




 

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presence.  There should be a way for two cities to change urban growth boundaries if it does 

not affect another municipality.  City influence over zoning outside the city is a key to 

preparing property for development.  Public and private utilities should anticipate needs.  

Cities need as broad a tool kit as possible to make them as flexible as possible.  Mr. HAMMON 

said that his city works well with the county. 



Ken WILBER, Mayor of Portland 

Mayor WILBER asked what makes things different now from referendum bills considered in 

the past?  PC 1101 took cities and counties out of constant strife.  The lawsuits have ended.  He 

stated that corridor annexations, sprawl, donut holes, and disparate levels of service are less 

common now than before PC 1101.  Cities can coordinate and plan efficiently, and this makes 

Tennessee more competitive for private investment.  Mayor WILBER said that there is no issue 

with the taking of land.  There is no taxation without representation under the law.  The law 

does not violate rights.  Every county commission represented their county’s residents when 

they adopted the growth plan.  Many cities conduct annexations the right way.  Critics of the 

law point out a few bad actors.   

Following Mayor WILBER’S presentation, Chairman NORRIS opened the floor for questions.  

He reminded the commissioners that this process is intended to be a thorough review of all 

aspects of the law and how to improve it.  He asked about the possibility of creating a right to 

deannex by referendum.  Mr. FLEMING said that people tend to fear the unknown and say they 

would vote against being annexed.  Once they have been, they are generally satisfied.  Cities 

should be held accountable for providing services. 

Chairman NORRIS said that one of the precepts for passing PC 1101 was to eliminate 

annexation out of fear.  Senator KYLE spoke of the reasons people choose to live where they 

do.  New municipalities were created by people who didn’t want to live in bigger cities.  It did 

not have to do with services.  The issue needs to be addressed without harming growth in mid-

sized cities.  We have one law but two kinds of communities, he said. 

Representative CARTER said Williamson County is doing it right and no one wants to harm 

them.  Adding that laws have to work for everyone, he asked the panelists a series of 

questions, starting with “Why do cities always choose to annex by ordinance?”  Mayor 

GORDON responded that  Covington has annexed twice in the past eight years.  One was a 

non-consensual annexation of a subdivision.  They had septic issues, and the city could provide 

sewer.  Some opposed it, but most peoples’ expenses decreased after the annexation.  

Representative CARTER asked whether that was why they were not allowed to vote; did the 

city know what was better for them?  Mayor GORDON said they told them we will annex you if 

we put the services in. 

Representative CARTER then asked Mayor BICKERS why he did not grant a vote on an 

annexation.  Mayor BICKERS said they annex to close holes.  He said they wanted certainty and 

that allowing a vote does not bring certainty.  He further said that the annexations were in the 



 

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interest of the residents; sometimes a government must act to benefit the many even if it 

affects the few. 

Representative CARTER said that people in his district do not agree that annexation has no 

effect on their property rights.  He told of a landowner operating a shooting range and a farmer 

raising special cows.  They are being annexed and told they cannot continue their operations.  

Mayor BICKERS said some things are not in the interest of the community.  Governing is not 

easy.  You have to make hard choices.  Mr. HAMMON said it is standard practice in his area to 

grandfather nonconforming uses as long as they continue in that use. 

Representative CARTER said that Louisville was a defensively created city and asked Mayor 

BICKERS why he opposed being annexed then and now supports it.  Mayor BICKERS answered 

that it is somewhat correct.  There were people 20 years ago who wanted to be Louisville 

rather than Knoxville or Alcoa.  They are one of the few with a home rule charter. 

Representative CARTER said 35 states require referendum.  Forty- seven have extreme 

restraints, yet cities there grow.  Why not Tennessee?  Mr. FLEMING responded by noting that 

Tennessee’s low property taxes are a good deal when people move here.  The certainty of 

having growth boundaries keeps costs down and keeps Tennessee competitive. 

In further discussion, Vice-chairman ROWLAND said the cookie cutter approach does not fit 

everybody in the state, but PC 1101 has been fair.  He recently considered an annexation and 

decided not to proceed with it because most of the people did not want it.  Chairman NORRIS 

said we are at year 15 of the 20-year growth plans, and asked what should happen at 20 years.  

We have an opportunity to review the 20-year growth plans.  PC 1101 depends on an engaged 

and informed electorate; maybe everybody should be reminded.  Mayor GORDON said we 

should look at our urban growth boundaries and go through that process again, but not as the 

process exists.  He added that the two people in Representative CARTER’s example should be 

allowed to continue what they are doing. 

Mayor WATERS asked what the reaction would be to a three- to five-year phase-in of the loss 

of counties’ 15-year hold harmless revenues.  Mr. HAMMON said the 15-year period was the 

phase in.  Cities are counting on that money.  Mr. FLEMMING added that the 15 years is after 

each individual annexation.  He is willing to discuss a transition. 

Representative CARTER said PC 1101 is a great bill.  We have heard about keeping the cities 

and counties at the table.  I would add the people—voters—to the table.  Some cities are doing 

great.  That is why referendums will work.  Vice Chairman ROWLAND said that public hearings 

give people their opportunity to be listened to. 

In a final bit of discussion, Senator KYLE said that annexing an industrial site is entirely 

different from annexing voters and that there should be two paths.  Senator HENRY 

recommended that more counties look at the metropolitan form of government.  Before 

becoming metropolitan, aggressive annexation was carried out by the city government.  It has 

been good because everyone participates in what the government does.   



 

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3.

 

Presentation by Ms. Ethel DETCH, Senior Research Consultant, on State and Local 

Government  Transparency—Draft Report for Review and Comment  

Ms. DETCH presented a draft of the report on government transparency resulting from two bills 

sent to the Commission by the 107

th

 General Assembly.  



Senate Bill 2831 (Ketron) [House Bill 

3327 (Carr)], known as the Taxpayer Transparency Act, would have required the state 

Department of Finance and Administration to create and maintain a searchable budget 

database website detailing where, for what purpose, and what results are achieved for all 

taxpayer investments in state government. House Bill 3328 (Carr), [Senate Bill 2832 (Ketron)] 

known as the Local Government Transparency Act, would have required each county, city, and 

school district to post certain financial  information online.  Both bills require such features as 

searchability, historical data, and information about “checkbook level” expenditures and 

contracts.

 

Senator NORRIS commented that a great deal of information is already available, but perhaps 



people need to be more aware of it.  Senator KYLE asked whether staff had looked at the data 

on usage.  Ms. DETCH indicated that the final report would include information on usage.  

County Executive HUFFMAN asked whether newspapers are required to publish public notices 

in their digital editions.  Ms. DETCH responded that she did not know but would find out.  

Director MCMAHAN commented that in small communities, government meetings often get 

posted as a story rather than a notice.  He added that having information online for people to 

access directly can help make more effective use of staff resources.  Mayor WATERS noted 

that the fiscal note for local governments could be a burden.  Senator HENRY commented 

that, if government transparency legislation were introduced, the smallest governments would 

need to be exempt from the requirements.  

Senator NORRIS requested that members submit any changes or additions they might want to 

see in the report. 



Next meeting 

The next meetings are scheduled as follows: 

 

23-24 October 2013 



 

4-5 December 2013 



Chairman NORRIS adjourned the meeting at 11:17 a.m. 



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