Commission discusses new powers for county officials

Lee Erwin Reporting

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – At their informal meeting Monday, August 5, Montgomery County Commissioners talked about new regulatory powers for the county. A resolution has been introduced that would grant Montgomery County Carolyn Bowers some of the powers similar to those of the City of Clarksville. Two of the main topics discussed were last year’s dry conditions and the flooding in 2010.

During the dry summer conditions in 2012 the City of Clarksville issued a ban on burning but the county was not able to issue a ban until it could be approved by Tennessee officials. It’s the same with a curfew which the city called for in May of 2010 when Clarksville was struck by flood waters from the Cumberland River. Once again the county did not have the power to enforce a curfew in the county.

Commissioner Mark Riggins sponsored the resolution and explained his reason. “The problems that we’ve seen here in the past like last year during the hot dry weather we had in the summertime it took a few days to a week to initiate a burn ban. The county can’t initiate that themselves they have to go through the state. I think it’s absurd that we have to wait any amount of time when we have a known problem,” said Riggins.

Some commissioners felt the resolution would give too much power to county government and could possibly be abused. Mayor Bowers said any decision that came from her office would only be made after consulting with emergency and public safety personnel or other officials in the county.

Other items for consideration on the commission’s agenda Monday was the purchase of land for construction of a new EMS station on Highway 12. A plan for amendments to the 2013-14 Clarksville-Montgomery County School System budget, re-appropriating funds from the Carmel Elementary School project to the Pisgah Elementary School project and renovations to the old Jostens building.

Commissioners also heard from Montgomery County Animal Control and Adoption on a regulation to require animals to be protected from direct sunlight in temperatures above 75 degrees. The resolution is mainly aimed at protecting pets like dogs but commissioners are expected to take up an amendment which excludes animals such as livestock.

The Montgomery County Commission will meet in its formal session on Monday, August 12 at 7:00 p.m. on the third floor of the Montgomery County Courthouse.