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December 20, 2011

Montgomery County Legislative Delegation Reception focuses on county concerns

County Mayor Carolyn Bowers addresses concerns of the county to state legislative delegation.

The Montgomery County Commission met in executive session December 14 hosting its annual Legislative Delegation Reception for Montgomery County’s state delegation. The legislative delegation consists of state Senator Tim Barnes, Rep. Joe Pitts, Rep. Curtis Johnson and Rep. Phillip Johnson. Along with the full contingent of county commissioners, City of Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan, City Council Representatives Joel Wallace, Geno Grubbs and Nick Steward also attended the event.

Held in the County Commission Conference Room, the festive decorations and buffet proved a fitting setting for the open dialogue and discourse on subjects of concern to Montgomery County government for the coming legislative term in the state’s capitol chambers. County Mayor Carolyn Bowers presided over the evening’s session and opened the gathering with acknowledgements of guests prior to executing the session agenda. Commissioners Ron Sokol, John Genis, Mark Riggins, Robert Nichols and Jeremy Bowles serve as the 2011 Legislative Liaison Committee. The committee seeks input from citizens, elected officials and business community on issues that need to be addressed by state government.

Concerns presented to the delegation ranged from defaulting court costs from a criminal debt to civil debt, encouraging continued support and annual financial budgeting of Juvenile Custody Prevention Programs, support development and expansion of a Motorcycle Passenger Safety Act, development of Port Royal State Park area, protecting the current state re-distribution formula for local education systems, TDOT’s continued support for highway improvement projects for roads in Montgomery County, support and actively advocate for continued fast tracking of the approved Veterans Community Living Center in Montgomery County.

County Commissioner Robert Nichols addresses the delegation

The delegation was also urged to encourage support for the recent DEA banning of the sale of “Bath Salts” type products containing mephedrone, methylendioxyprovalerone (MDPV) and methylone. The effort would also make the importation, manufacturing, distribution of these products a criminal felony offense. CMCSS student Devin Gillian gave a presentation to the delegation which detailed the harmful effects which can and have resulted from the illicit use of these products. Stan Williams of the Metropolitan Planning Commission spoke of the need for the delegation’s support to secure TDOT funding of various roadway projects within the county including SR112/US41-A from SR76 to McAdoo Creek Road, SR 374/Warfield Blvd. from Dunbar Cave Road to Stokes Road, SR48/Trenton Road from Wilma Rudolph Blvd to SR236/Tiny Town Road.

The delegation was additionally asked to advocate for continued funding at current levels of all state shared taxing, Stimulus and BEP funding. This would include current recommendations of the BEP review committee reported to the governor. The review findings benefit Montgomery County government and its citizens. The delegation was also asked to seek the acceleration of upgrades to I-24 Clarksville exit ramps for public safety. Mayor Bowers concluded the presentations with a request for support of the Tennessee County Services Association’s 2012 legislative platform and the Greater Nashville Regional Council 2012 legislative agenda. Both of these programs have a positive impact on Montgomery County’s development and growth and impact the county’s ability to adhere to quality of life enhancement intiatives.

The state delegation members spoke in response to the commissioners litany of concerns. They acknowledged that the upcoming legislative session was likely to be filled with positioning as the state’s revenues are not projected to reflect serious growth. Senator Barnes spoke of a desire to see the sale of “Bath Salts” greatly reduced in Tennessee. Revenue sharing was likely to be a strenuous struggle as all counties will be jockeying for a bigger slice of the economic pie. Rep. Curtis Johnson felt that securing continued TDOT funding for the specific county roadway projects would well serve citizens and enhance the state’s overall ability to compete for industrial development and growth. Rep. Joe Pitts pledged to work for passage of the liaison’s committee reported concerns and report back to the liaison committee. Rep. Phillip Johnson was not in attendance.

Mayor Bowers also announced that David Riggins, head of the Metropolitan Planning Commission for thirty-five years would retire in February 2012. The reception gave a round of applause in appreciation of his service.

The reception formally ended  but attendees gathered in small groups to mingle and socialize.


[Photos by Turner McCullough Jr. – JazzWaves Imaging Solutions for Imagine Media Solutions]

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