Bedford County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday night to give $1,500 to the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration for promoting an upcoming quarter horse show, even though a letter from the Celebration to the City of Shelbyville indicates that the money is no longer needed.
Commissioners failed to approve the contribution a month ago, but not all commissioners were in attendance and one who had been absent, Denise Graham, had asked for the issue to be reconsidered.
The money had been requested to help promote a show by the West Tennessee Quarter Horse Association March 31 and April 1 in Shelbyville. The Celebration, which requested funds from both the city and the county, said it was trying to promote the use of Calsonic Arena and the show grounds by a variety of equine breeds.
But a Feb. 13 letter from Meadows to Shelbyville City Manager Jay Johnson states that the donation is no longer necessary since it's been provided for by private donations. A copy of Meadows' letter was included with the packet sent to commissioners and the Times-Gazette in advance of Tuesday night's meeting.
No mention was made of the letter Tuesday night. Commissioner J.D. "Bo" Wilson, who spoke against the contribution last month, said he was opposed to giving general funds to the Celebration but now understood that the request was specifically to support the quarter horse show, which could lead to additional tourism revenue for the community.
The motion passed 12-1, with two abstaining. Bobby Fox was opposed, while Linda Yockey and Joe Tillett abstained. Commissioners Bobby Vannatta, Billy King and Tony Barrett were absent.
Commissioners approved rezoning of a parcel at 2739 U.S. 231 North from A-1 (agriculture) to C-1 (commercial). The owners say they plan to put a doctor's office at the site, which is across from another doctor's office and not far south of Heritage Medical Center. No members of the public spoke at a hearing held prior to the county commission meeting. The only speakers during the hearing were Wilson, who asked how close the site was to another site where a rezoning had been denied due to neighbor complaints, and commissioner Tony Smith, who also serves on the county planning commission and who said the site was close to several other commercial properties.
The rezoning passed 15-0.
Commissioners voted to contribute half the cost of the annual Independence Day fireworks display at H.V. Griffin Park in Shelbyville. The county's contribution would be in the $4,000 to $5,000 range.
The county shared that cost with the city, which organizes the display, for a number of years, but the city did not hold the fireworks display at all last year due to budget concerns. This year, the display is being brought back.
Wilson attempted at one point to suspend the rules to consider an available piece of property which the county might want to purchase. A suspension of the rules is required to consider an item not on the commission's published agenda. It takes a two-thirds vote of the full 18-member commission to suspend the rules, and only 11 commissioners (out of the 15 present) raised their hands. So, the rules were not suspended and Wilson could not bring up the matter.
* Commissioners approved updating the agreement between the county and the Emergency Communications District board in order to expand the size of that board.
* Commissioners deferred action on electing new members to Bedford County Board of Equalization.
* Commissioners approved minor revisions to the county's purchasing policy.
* Commissioners approved surplus property lists from the school system and the county probation office.
* Commissioners approved a contract with Classworks for software used by the school system for benchmark testing.
* Commissioners approved an agreement with MicroVote for continued use of the software which powers the county's electronic voting machines. This item also required a rules suspension because it was not on the published agenda.
Bedford County Administrator of Elections Summer Leverette reported to the commission that election turnout last week had been "low, but it's pretty good for a presidential primary." She said no one had to be denied a chance to vote locally due to the new photo ID law.