Market denied beer sales variance

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Ralph Harvey of Short Mountain Market approached the Cannon County Board of Commissioners during its monthly meeting on Oct. 6, again asking it to lower the distance of an establishment that sells alcohol from a church or meeting place. Cannon County has adopted the state standard of 2,000 feet. The Short Mountain Market is 900 feet from a cemetery, which is considered a gathering place.

The motion process got a little questionable as after commissioner Greg Mitchell asked Harvey if when he first bought the market, he knew that he couldn't sell beer. After Harvey acknowledged that he did buy the market knowing he couldn't sell beer, Mitchell made a motion to keep the distance as it is. Commissioner Corey Davenport, who had made an argument to lower the distance during discussion, then made a motion to shorten it to 800 feet. Mitchell reminded Davenport that there was a motion on the floor already. Davenport countered "so if that passes are you saying that I can't make my motion?"

Commissioner Jeannine Floyd made a motion on top of all that to pass it on to a committee.

Seven commissioners agreed and the Mitchell motion to keep the distance the way it is passed.

• Is Cannon County getting all of its revenue stream? That's the answer Donna Barrett of the Barrett Group hopes to get a chance to answer. The Barrett Group is a consulting group out of Murfreesboro which helps clients reduce expenses and save costs while identifying potential revenue streams. Barrett spent about 10 years as a Tennessee State Representative and generated over $37 million in cost savings through identifying over appropriations, contracts and misuse of funds.

Barrett conducted a slide show presentation of her program during the meeting. The review that she does with Cannon County would be one which covers most of the revenue sources including state shared revenue sources. She started out by explaining the situs based tax which are those sales that take place in the county. Cannon County's sales tax is at 8.75 percent. The Hall Tax was also mentioned but noted that the tax will be obsolete in 2021.

A list of state shared revenue sources was shown to the commissioners. These will be some of the things Barrett will look into to see if things are missing or didn't get fully collected in the past. One example Barrett gave to the commissioners was that of a business and looking into where that business is actually located and where the sales tax revenue should go. This is commonly a mistake made through not following up by the state. Once the error is located, Barrett follows through with the state to correct the mistake and have the state reimburse the county any money it has missed out on.

The service provided by Barrett will have no action on any of the taxpayers.

The Barrett Group is paid for their work based on their findings. Nothing is recurring. Fee is based on 50 percent of a first finding. After fielding questions from the Commissioners, the County Attorney Mike Corley will look over the contract before taking the next step.

• Fred Howell of the Cannon County Industrial Development Board approached the commission to request the county give the IDB some office space. They currently lease space from Tabitha Smith and the Community Wellness Community Clinic. Their desire is to find space to where they aren't paying rent.

The IDB would also like to use the courtroom of the Cannon County Courthouse to hold meetings as they have outgrown the office. The goal is to move by the first of the year.

While they discussed this, Jeannine Floyd made a motion to send the issue to the property management committee, seconded by Kim Davenport. Corey Davenport countered, "I would appreciate the time to talk to this man before we make motions to put things to committees."

The motion was minutes later rescinded so more discussion could take place.

The motion was made and passed allowing the Industrial Development Board the use of the courtroom of the courthouse to hold their monthly meetings. They made the motion to send the issue of finding office space to the property management committee.

• Cannon County Ambulance Director Dek Sissom let the Commission know the ambulance department is reapplying a grant for powerloads. The cost for applying is $300. If they are awarded the grant the amount will be $60,000 for equipment. Sissom will also be applying for a new ambulance which the costs for applying is $600.00 But since the Ambulance Department won a recent Battle of the Badges blood drive, the Woodbury Lions Club presented the department with a $600 check which will be used to apply towards the costs for the application. The commission passed the motion to give permission for the ambulance department to move forward with the grants.

• The final item on the day concerned the opportunity for the county to waive the wheel tax sticker for one of the personal vehicles of each of the county's rescue and fire squad members who have served in those departments for the minimum of one year. Commissioner Karen Ashford brought up the legislation passed by the state legislature which Senator Mark Pody helped push through that allows the volunteer members this privilege.

The legislation leaves it to the discretion of each county in the state on whether or not they want to enact.

Corey Davenport also spoke up strongly in favor of this and when the vote was taken only one other commissioner agreed to doing this, which was Brent Brandon. The argument against the issue was that the county would lose roughly $5,000 of wheel tax revenue.

The argument was echoed by commissioners Kim Davenport and Ronnie Mahaffey, who both voted against allowing the volunteers a break on one of their personal vehicles. Floyd voted against doing so because the wheel tax revenue goes towards the schools and the schools have repair issues that they money could be earmarked for.

Russell Reed, Jim Bush and Greg Mitchell all voted no, but Mitchell also mentioned before he voted that he had wished he had more time to think about it.

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