local government

House approves bill to end vehicle emissions testing in five TN counties

A bill seeking to do away with vehicle emissions testing in five Tennessee counties was overwhelmingly approved Monday evening by the state House and now goes to the Senate, reports the Times Free Press.

Continue reading

Burchett accused of nepotism in hiring of stepson

A complaint to the state comptroller and anonymous emails to county commissioners accuse Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett of violating nepotism laws in the hiring of his stepson, a county laborer with a history of legal troubles, reports the News Sentinel. Burchett is currently running for the Republican nomination to the 2nd Congressional District seat.

Continue reading

De-annexation bill dead; sponsor blames city lobbyists

An effort to enact legislation allowing disgruntled residents in some areas of Tennessee cities to vote to secede is dead for the year, reports the Times Free Press. The House sponsor, Rep. Mike Carter (R-Ooltewah) blames lobbyists for municipalities.

Continue reading

David Briley sworn in as Nashville mayor

David Briley, Nashville’s vice mayor for the past two and a half years, was sworn in as Metro government’s eighth mayor Tuesday evening, replacing Megan Barry who resigned in disgrace earlier in the day, reports The Tennessean.

Continue reading

Convicted former Knox trustee briefly jailed for failing to pay restitution

Former Knox County Trustee Mike Lowe was arrested Tuesday on a probation violation charge for falling behind — to the tune of $13,450 — in paying restitution to county coffers for his admitted thievery, reports the News Sentinel. He was released from jail after posting a bond of $13,450.

Continue reading

Nashville mayor pleads guilty to theft, resigns from office

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry today pleaded guilty to a theft charge tied to her affair with her former police bodyguard, Rob Forrest, then resigned from office.  She agreed as part of a plea bargain to reimburse the city $11,000 and serve three years on probation.

The deal also called for her resignation and she officially announced that at a news conference following her court appearance.

Continue reading

Memphis mayor disputes CNN pundit’s ‘blistering critique’ of city and its leadership

After CNN pundit Angela Rye unleashed a blistering critique of Memphis and its leadership during a taxpayer-funded speech Saturday, Memphis’ Mayor Jim Strickland took the unusual step Monday of issuing a rebuttal to “defend our city,” reports the Commercial Appeal.

Continue reading

Bill to give legislators oversight of airports stirs flap in Northeast TN

Legislation introduced by Rep. Matthew Hill and Sen. Steve Southerland would create a board of state legislators to oversee – and overrule, if they wish – decisions made by regional airport authorities. The bill involves the Tri-Cities Airport Authority’s use of a $4.1 million state grant and is stirring controversy in Northeast Tennessee.

Continue reading

Nashville Council approves May referendum on $5.4B (or $8.9B) transit referendum

The Metropolitan Nashville Council has voted 34-2 to give final approval to adding Mayor Megan Barry’s transit referendum to the local primary election ballot on May 1, reports The Tennessean.

But bucking the administration, the council tweaked the referendum language to list both the transit proposal’s present-day cost of $5.4 billion as well as the estimated amount of long-term revenue needed for the project, $8.95 billion. The mayor’s office had lobbied for only the lower amount to go on the ballot. 

Continue reading

TN Supreme Court rejects refund of liquor stores’ overpaid taxes

Press release from Administrative Office of the Courts

Nashville, Tenn. – In a unanimous opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that a taxpayer must pay disputed municipal taxes under protest before suing for a refund.

The city of Morristown, based on a state statute, adopted an ordinance imposing an inspection fee on licensed alcoholic beverage retailers. The city set the fee at 8 percent of the wholesale price based on the county’s population. By 2011, the county’s population increased, and under the ordinance, the inspection fee should have decreased to a maximum fee of 5 percent of the wholesale price. However, from 2011–2014, the city of Morristown continued to charge alcoholic beverage retailers 8 percent inspection fees instead of the authorized 5 percent fees.  Continue reading