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Bristol Tennessee City Council

City, state leaders discuss election, legislative plans at breakfast meeting

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BHC 01122020 TN Legislative 07

Sen. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol. (File Photo)

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Tennessee state legislators Sen. Jon Lundberg and Rep. John Crawford received suggestions for new legislation and heard about Bristol, Tennessee’s plans to move its municipal election during a breakfast meeting in downtown Bristol, Tennessee Friday morning.

The Bristol Tennessee City Council presented two proposals. The first is a series of amendments that would change the election dates of the Bristol, Tennessee City Council election.

“The most substantive changes dealt with the shift of our election from May an odd number of years to the second Tuesday in even number year, so that our next election will be the second Tuesday of this year in November,” Bristol Tennessee City Manager Bill Sorah said. “Our council selects a mayor and vice-mayor from among the five members of the council. This is done at the organizational meeting in July of every year. So as we would seat a new council following a November of 2022 election, we would seat that council in January of 2022. That would be the time that the new mayor, and the new vice mayor would be selected. This would amend the charter to reflect that change.”

This amendment also includes a few grammatical changes to the charter, an amendment that would allow the City Council to appoint a temporary juvenile court clerk, and changes to penalty and interest on delinquent property taxes.

The other proposal that the City Council presented to the Tennessee delegation is proposed open container district legislation, similar to the measure adopted by Virginia in 2021. The proposed law allows individuals to consume alcoholic beverages served by local businesses in disposable containers within designated outdoor refreshment areas. Danielle Smith, the Bristol, Tennessee city attorney, detailed conversations she has had with the Tennessee Alcohol Beverage Commission (TABC) about the proposed legislation.

“They (TABC) said that they would probably be willing to carry forward legislation themselves,” Smith said. “So I’m really hoping that TABC will move forward with this, and I would appreciate any calls you can make or pressure you could put on them to move forward, and if not, then in the next weeks, I’ll be coming up with some legislation that will get us what we want.”

Tennessee state Sen. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol) provided a brief overview of current issues being considered to the city officials.

“The big thing obviously in the state that’s being discussed, debated is changing PDP (Professional Development Points) in the education funding,” Lundberg, who also serves as deputy speaker, said. “From my perspective, I think there’s unanimity. We need to change the formula … Frankly, it’s too big an item to do too quickly. Obviously, it takes about a third of our state budget.”

Jason Mumpower, the comptroller of the Tennessee Treasury, gave an update on Tennessee’s finances and encouraged members of the council to reach out for funding.

“Six months into the fiscal year this year, we’ve over-collected $1.6 billion, over-collected $2.9 billion last year. Of course, that’s one-time money that’s non-recurring money. But there are some recurring revenue streams right now. So you know, fortunately in Tennessee, things are good, Tennessee is firing on all cylinders,” Mumpower said. “It’s a great time to ask for capital spending.”

Lundberg highlighted the importance of having an open dialogue between the two parties in more casual settings.

“I think it’s crucial. It’s not just what you hear here (during presentations). But it’s frankly, the parties are sitting at the table and having discussions, the good part is this is not the anomaly, I talk and text with these folks throughout the year,” Lundberg said.

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