Candidates go head to head for TN state representative seat

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What started as a friendly campaign over the district one Tennessee state representative seat is now heating up after flyers were mailed out addressing the voting records of those up for election. Early voting for the position is underway in Bristol right now and that’s where News Channel 11 spoke with the candidates who each say their competitor isn’t being honest.  Bristol Mayor Chad Keen says when this race began, he and competitor John Crawford agreed to run a clean campaign.

“He said listen ‘I just want to let you know that I’m going to run a positive campaign and I’m not going to go negative and I just want to talk the issues’. Great, that’s what I want to do too is talk the issues of what’s facing our citizens our community and he flat-out has not done that.”

Crawford says he’s living up to his word. He said, “I’m not attacking his character in any way. I am informing the public on how he’s voted over the last three years and they can check and make sure that I’m telling the truth.”

Keen says the statements on that mailed flyer about his voting record are inaccurate. Keen said, “It’s just outright lies and mistruths and fabrications on our record and we want to set the record straight.”

Keen is now challenging Crawford to a public debate on Tuesday, but Crawford says that’s unnecessary. Crawford said, “We had plenty of opportunities to debate the issues… He’s had the opportunity to do that in the past and we’re in the middle early voting and I think right now we should be focused on that.”

Keen says a debate is needed to give the candidates an opportunity to discuss the voting accusations that were made on Crawford’s campaign pamphlets.  Keen said, “For instance, a tax on red light cameras… we don’t have any cameras at our red lights… that’s ridiculous.”

Crawford says he based these printed statements off of public records. He said, “Everything that we have said is true and I would encourage people to go out and check the facts.”

Here’s a look at the flyer that John Crawford mailed out:

Here’s Chad Keen’s voting record on the issues Crawford laid out in the above pamphlet:Ordinance 14-20 – An Ordinance to Amend the Appropriation of Funds and Budget for the Fiscal Year July 1, 2014 through June 30,2015 (October 7, 2014)

City Manager Sorah reviewed this ordina

nce which proposes to amend the FY 2015 Budget appropriation for the purpose of establishing a special revenue fund to account for financial activity related to a new fee. The Tennessee General Assembly recently enacted Public Chapter 750 which allows municipalities to impose a fee of $5.00 for each state traffic citation that results in a guilty plea or judgment. The fee is to be used to support the costs associated with the electronic traffic citation system used by law enforcement agencies. The Act authorizes municipalities to establish the fee by resolution. The fee of $5.00 would provide $4.00 to the local enforcement agency that prepared the traffic citation and $1.00 to be retained by the court clerk. The traffic citation fees collected on behalf of the law enforcement agency must be accounted for in a special revenue fund. This revenue can only

be used for expenditures related electronic traffic citation equipment acquisition, maintenance, or training. Councilman Young questioned which traffic fees would be subject to the new fee. City Manager Sorah responded that all moving violations found guilty would be subject. Councilwoman Feierabend moved to approve the ordinance on first reading, and Councilman Young seconded the motion. The ordinance was approved by unanimous Council vote.http://www.bristoltn.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/ArchivedMinutes/11042014-140Resolution 15-14 – A Resolution Requesting the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee to Enact Legislation Authorizing the City of Bristol to Levy and Impose A Restaurant Privilege Tax (Actually April 7th, 2015 not April 4th as the flyer states)

City Manager Sorah reviewed this Resolution. An element of the 2015 Tri-Cities Legislative policy was a request for legislation enabling municipalities to impose a restaurant tax. Recently, similar legislation was made available to Gatlinburg and Sevierville to provide funding in support of their tourism infrastructure. Representative Lundberg has sponsored the attached legislation that, if passed by the General Assembly, will provide the City of Bristol the authority to impose a not-to-exceed2o/o privilege tax on meals served by restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, caterers and similar establishments.  Under the proposed legislation, the vote to impose the restaurant tax would require a two-thirds vote of Council. If approved, 75% of the proceeds collected from the privilege tax would be used for tourism promotion or tourism infrastructure, including municipally owned venues such stadiums, event centers, park facilities, etc. The passage of this Resolution does not authorize the restaurant tax. The Resolution only serves to indicate City Council’s support for legislation authorizing the City to impose a restaurant tax at some point in the future. Support for this proposed legislation is important during this legislative session.

As Council is aware, efforts are underway to assess the feasibility of a hotel/convention center and a new baseball stadium. In addition, a study assessing the need for a community aquatic facility will be underway next fiscal year. If any of these projects are deemed feasible, a restaurant tax could be a potential funding source. Councilwoman Feierabend moved to approve the Resolution, and Vice Mayor Keen seconded the motion. Vice Mayor Keen discussed that 25% of the funds could be used to fund construction of the new middle school. He stated that any way to fund the new middle school must be considered. School facilities enhance economic development and need to be part of providing a work ready community. In order to not raise property taxes to fund the project, this tax could be used as a funding source partially from outside City residents. Councilman Young stated that he would not support the Resolution because this could be seen as a hindrance to economic development and an additional tax. He does not want to impact growth. Councilwoman Dolan is against any new taxes. This legislation is just for Bristol and not for state-wide use. The impact will be felt by citizens every day. She expressed concerns over the language of the legislation.

Councilwoman Feierabend spoke in favor of the Resolution and stated that growth comes from the City. No one likes new taxes, but everyone likes the services and facilities provided by the funds. She reinforced that this Resolution is just to be able to have the right to enforce the tax. It does not actually establish the tax. Mayor Powers stated that this request was mentioned in the 2012 Strategic Plan and part of the Legislative Policy. Manufacturing is declining and tourism and services is a source of future growth for the City. She stated that the opportunity to have this passed by the State may not exist in the future. Mayor Powers would rather have the funds returned to the City versus funding the City of Bristol, Virginia where many residents currently dine. The Pinnacle will provide more opportunities to support our own needs.

In order to not raise property taxes to fund the project, this tax could be used as a funding source partially from outside City residents. Councilman Young stated that he would not support the Resolution because this could be seen as a hindrance to economic development and an additional tax. He does not want to impact growth. Councilwoman Dolan is against any new taxes. This legislation is just for Bristol and not for state-wide use. The impact will be felt by citizens every day. She expressed concerns over the language of the legislation. Councilwoman Feierabend spoke in favor of the Resolution and stated that growth comes from the City. No one likes new taxes, but everyone likes the services and facilities provided by the funds. She reinforced that this Resolution is just to be able to have the right to enforce the tax. It does not actually establish the tax. Mayor Powers stated that this request was mentioned in the 2012 Strategic Plan and part of the Legislative Policy. Manufacturing is declining and tourism and services is a source of future growth for the City. She stated that the opportunity to have this passed by the State may not exist in the future. Mayor Powers would rather have the funds returned to the City versus funding the City of Bristol, Virginia where many residents currently dine. The Pinnacle will provide more opportunities to support our own needs.

The motion passed by the following roll call vote:

Councilman Young               No

Councilwoman Dolan           No

Councilwoman Feierabend   Yes

Vice Mayor Keen                Yes

Mayor Powers                    Yeshttp://www.bristoltn.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Minutes/04072015-373Ordinance 15-5 – An Ordinance Fixing Rates Charged for Water Sold by the City of Bristol (June 2, 2015)

 City Manager Sorah reviewed this ordinance to adopt new water rates for utility customers served by the City of Bristol. As reviewed in the work session of April 21st, a water rate increase of 3.5% is necessary to maintain the financial integrity of the Water Segment of the Waterworks Fund. The Waterworks Fund is a proprietary fund that must, in accordance with a statute, operate over time with a net income and positive change in net assets or be subject to the rate control of the state. An increase of 3.5% is required in each of the next two years to stabilize the Water Segment that is projected to incur a net cash flow deficit in FY 2017. Also, projected ending cash at the end of FY 2016 is expected to be approximately $25,000 in absence of a rate increase. A loan from the Sewer Segment of $500,000 is proposed in each of the next two years to maintain a positive cash balance in this segment. The water rate adjustment will result in additional cash flow that is planned to be utilized to repay the loan from the Sewer Segment over time. The new rate structure is projected to increase water revenues by approximately $119,000 in Fiscal 2016 and $123,000 in Fiscal 2017. A typical residential customer consuming 5,000 gallons of water per month will see an increase of $0.65 per month. The last water rate increase was effective in July of 2010. The rate adjustment does not apply to wholesale utility districts having a water sale agreement with the City. This includes the Blountville Utility District and the Intermont Utility District. The public hearing was closed after no public comments.http://bristoltn.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Minutes/06022015-382Resolution No. 14-48 – A Resolution Establishing a Solid Waste Collection and Disposal Fee (June 3, 2014)

 City Manager Sorah reviewed this Resolution that establishes a solid waste fee of $14.50 per month per household for the first container and $7.25 for the second and each additional container effective with billings after July 1, 2014. The solid waste fee is used to offset the cost of residential collection and disposal services which are budgeted at $1.8 million annually. The monthly rate will increase $1.00 per month for the first container and $.50 per month for each additional container generating $144,000 in revenue. With the increase, the rates are projected to cover 100% of the operating and capital cost. It has been the long-term financial objective for the service fee to cover 100% of the cost of this program. The Resolution also maintains at $9.00 per month, the solid waste fee for homeowners participating in the Tennessee or Bristol Property Tax Relief programs for the first container and sets the fee at $7.25 for the second and each additional container effective with the billings after July 1,2014. The Fiscal 2015 budget was based upon the expectation of the rate increase being implemented. Councilman Keen moved to approve the Resolution, and Councilman Young seconded. The motion passed by unanimous roll call vote.http://bristoltn.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Minutes/06032014-291Resolution No. 14-45 – A Resolution Fixing Fees for Parks and Recreation Facilities Usage and Activities (June 3, 2014)

City Manager Sorah reviewed this Resolution which fixes fees for parks and recreation facilities usage and activities. The Parks and Recreation Commission recently recommended an adjustment of fees associated with the use of various parks and recreation program opportunities. Significant adjustments to the fee schedule include the adoption of a $2.00 entry for Steele Creek Park, participant fees associated with various leagues utilizing park facilities, and park naming opportunities. Historically, the adjustment of user fees has been addressed administratively. This Resolution formally memorializes the

schedule of fees consistent with the recommendations of the Parks and Recreation Commission and Council Comments from the May 20th City Council work session. Dee Coffey encouraged Council to encourage citizen comments and asked for a delay in the vote. Councilman Keen moved to approve the Resolution, and Councilman Young seconded. The motion passed by unanimous roll call vote.http://bristoltn.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Minutes/06032014-291

Early voting continues until July 30th with the state primary election set for August 4th.Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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