With the enactment of Public Chapter 707, Acts of 2014, the 108th General Assembly eliminated unilateral, nonconsensual annexation. The act strengthened the annexation moratorium established by Public Chapter 441, Acts of 2013, and extended the Commission’s review of state policies governing comprehensive growth plans and changes in municipal boundaries. While Public Chapter 707 settled many important issues surrounding annexation, its passage raised a few new questions and left others unresolved. This report makes several recommendations to address these concerns.
The Commission has released a new report that discusses issues and concerns related to planned developments and the homeowners associations that often govern them. The report makes a number of recommendations related to insuring and maintaining common areas, regulating political signs and parking, and imposing and collecting fines, among other issues. The report was prepared in response to House Bill 2070, referred to the Commission by the House Local Government Subcommittee of the 108th General Assembly and House Resolution 170 from the 107th General Assembly. (Full Report)
The Commission has released a report comparing methods for valuing properties receiving Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, the largest federal program for providing affordable housing for low-income Americans. While there is broad support for the program at all levels, there is wide disagreement about the most appropriate approach to valuing these properties for property tax purposes, particularly whether to consider the value of the federal tax credits that help fund them. Legislation that would have prohibited assessors from considering the tax credits when valuing low-income housing for property tax purposes was sent to the Commission for study last year. The Commission’s report describes alternatives that would result in relatively uniform annual tax payments that are easier for property owners to budget for while still recognizing that the credits are an indicator of fair-market-value that are properly considered when valuing LIHTC properties. (Full Report)
The Commission has released a new report evaluating a proposal to expand current common law rights to sue for invasions of privacy. House Bill 1855 by Representative Ryan Williams of Cookeville would have created a new civil cause of action for capturing or attempting to capture an image, recording, or impression by using a visual or auditory enhancing device, regardless of whether the image or recording were published. Although traditional legal remedies protect against physical invasions of privacy and exposure of private information, they do not explicitly protect against the use of technological devices to expose private activities that couldn’t otherwise be seen or heard. The bill, based on the idea that you should not be able to gain through technology what you cannot otherwise obtain except by breaking the law or trespassing, was sent to the Commission for study. The report explains how the bill could be changed to address constitutional concerns and to explicitly cover the use of drones. (Full Report)
The Commission has released a new report that recommends not changing the present approval processes for school system budgets. Tennessee’s school budgeting process, where local legislative bodies rather than independent school districts raise taxes to fund school systems, is unlike the majority of other states and provides greater oversight. Local legislative bodies cannot alter or revise specific budget line items, but have complete control over the budget total, and have several ways to learn about and question school expenditures before approving the budget. The state has placed a heavy burden of accountability for school performance on local school boards. Giving local legislative bodies more control over specific budget items would leave school boards with all of the accountability and less authority to allocate resources to meet their responsibilities. The proposed change was in 2014 legislation the General Assembly asked the Commission to study. (Full Report)
TACIR administrative director, Michael Timme, was recognized by Senator Mark Norris, Chairman, for 25 years of state service at the Commission’s January 2015 meeting in Nashville. The Commission elected officers at the meeting, returning Senate Majority Leader, Mark Norris, and Cleveland Mayor, Tom Rowland, to their posts as chairman and vice chairman.
In other news, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Beth Harwell, has appointed Representative Harold M. Love, Jr. and Representative Tim Wirgau to the Commission and reappointed Representative Antonio Parkinson. A complete list of the Commission's current members is found here.
TACIR has partnered with the Middle Tennessee State University Business and Economic Research Center to provide an Internet site to track the state economy during the recovery from the recession that began in December 2007. The site will permit the reader to follow labor force status including employment and unemployment numbers; housing data including a housing price index and construction activity; and sales tax collections. These data are available for the state and for 10 Metropolitan Statistical Areas across the state. Presented graphically, the data may also be downloaded for use at the reader’s convenience. (More)
Serve as a forum for the discussion and resolution of intergovernmental problems; provide high quality research support to state and local government officials in order to improve the overall quality of government in Tennessee; and to improve the effectiveness of the intergovernmental system in order to better serve the citizens of Tennessee.