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  • Knowledgebase-The Authority of an E-911 Board Regarding Towing
    handling requests for emergency services The Emergency Communications District Law found at Tennessee Code Annotated section 7 86 101 et seq authorizes the establishment by counties and cities of E 911 districts As I understand the facts under that Law a county wide E 911 district was established by your County Tennessee Code Annotated section 7 86 106 provides that The emergency communications district so created shall be a municipality or public corporation and that The powers of each district shall be vested in and exercised by a majority of the members of the board of directors of the district Emphasis is mine It is said in Tennessee Code Annotated section 7 86 107 a that The board of directors of the district shall create an emergency communications service designed to have the capacity of utilizing at least one 1 of the following three methods in response to emergency calls 1 Direct dispatch method 2 Relay method or 3 The transfer method The board of directors shall elect the method which it determines to be the most feasible for the district Emphasis is mine I do not know which of the methods your County E 911 District board of directors has selected Presumably it is the first method otherwise the city would do its own dispatching and your question would probably not have arisen The reason that is so is because Tennessee Code Annotated section 7 86 103 distinguishes between the above dispatch methods All of the methods have in common this definition and trigger a 911 service in which a public service answering point upon receipt of a telephone request for emergency services At that point the distinction between the methods arises and turns on what the answering point does after the receipt of the telephone request for emergency service Direct dispatch method The answering point provides for the dispatch of appropriate emergency service units and a decision as to the proper action to be taken Subsection 5 Relay method The answering point notes the pertinent information from the caller and relays such information to the appropriate public safety agency or other agencies or other providers of emergency service for dispatch of an emergency unit Subsection 11 Transfer method The answering point directly transfers such request to an appropriate public safety agency or other provider of emergency services The first method is a one step method in which the answering point both answers the telephone call for emergency services and dispatches the appropriate services The latter two methods are more or less two stage methods in which the answering point answers the telephone call for emergency service but either relays or transfers the request for further action by the appropriate agency The intention of the Legislature is the cardinal rule of statutory construction The Emergency Communications District Law is clear on its face the General Assembly intended the E 911 board of directors select one of the three methods of dispatching emergency services That Law is not clear on

    Original URL path: http://www.mtas.tennessee.edu/KnowledgeBase.nsf/cae6677dbd7f74a5852573ae005a41d4/181d28a61ff1394185256a550050ea6b?OpenDocument (2015-11-11)
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  • Knowledgebase-Authority of Board of Public Utilities in Relation to the Authority of the Board of Mayor and Commissioners
    City governing body can go so far as to abolish the utility board and return control of the utilities to the City governing body State ex rel Patton v Mayor of Lexington 626 S W 2d 5 Tenn 1981 Or if bonds have been issued under T C A 7 52 101 and the following sections the City governing body subject to referendum approval may dispose of the utilities T C A 7 52 132 The Board of Public Utilities and its members have the following responsibilities Each member must give a bond that may be required by resolution by the City s governing body T C A 7 52 109 The utilities board must hold a meeting within 10 days after appointment and qualification of members to elect a chair T C A 7 52 110 The utilities board must designate fix the amount of bond of and set the compensation for a secretary and treasurer or secretary treasurer T C A 7 52 110 The utilities board must hold public meetings at least once a month and establish its rules of procedure T C A 7 52 110 The utilities board must keep separate accounts for the electric plant and for each works and make due allocation of joint expenses revenues and property valuations T C A 7 52 111 The utilities board must keep a complete and accurate record of all meetings and actions taken and receipts and disbursements T C A 7 52 113 The utilities board must make written reports of the above items to the City s governing body at least yearly Copies of this report must be filed with the city clerk or recorder T C A 7 52 113 The utilities board has general supervision and control of the acquisition improvement operation and maintenance of the electric plant and other utilities T C A 7 52 114 The utilities board must appoint and fix the salary of an electric plant superintendent T C A 7 52 114 The utilities board must determine programs and make all plans for the acquisition of the electric plant T C A 7 52 115 The utilities board must make all determinations as to improvements rates and financial practices and may establish rules and regulations to govern the furnishing of electric service T C A 7 52 115 Presumably the city delegated all this authority relative to the water and gas systems to the utilities board as well The utilities board may disburse all monies in the electric plant fund for the furnishing of electric service A copy of the rates and charges and of all rules and regulations must be kept in the main and branch offices and in the office of the city recorder or clerk T C A 7 52 115 The utilities board must charge the city for services as it does for other entities in similar circumstances T C A 5 52 116 The superintendent has charge of the construction and immediate

    Original URL path: http://www.mtas.tennessee.edu/KnowledgeBase.nsf/cae6677dbd7f74a5852573ae005a41d4/e822d954cb1c4d0885256fc40059d0da?OpenDocument (2015-11-11)
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  • Knowledgebase-Authority of City Judges with Concurrent Jurisdiction
    an additional load upon our already overburdened judicial system We cannot countenance such an extreme result and therefore old that since the defendant did not challenge the jurisdiction of the municipal court either in that court or on direct appeal Town of South Carthage does not apply Bankston at 198 Other than addressing collateral attack of such courts decisions Bankston did not state that a municipal court was also a state court Tenn Op Atty Gen 95 20 also opines that a de facto judge of a state court could impose the sanction of contempt under 29 9 102 Tennessee Code Annotated for the willful disobedience or resistance of any officer of the said courts party juror witness or any other person to any lawful write process order rule decree or command of said courts Opinion 95 20 at 8 As the memo pointed out the Sheriff is one of five constitutional officers described in Article VII Section 1 Tennessee Constitution So arguably a judge even a de facto judge who is exercising concurrent jurisdiction could sanction a Sheriff who disobeys the mandates of the court I believe however this power has not been granted to a municipal judge even when he she is exercising concurrent jurisdiction Courthouse security is discussed in Tenn Op Atty Gen 97 117 The opinion deals with issues arising out of Metro Davidson County so is not directly on point to determining the issue in a non metro form of city government As in your memorandum this opinion points out that courthouse security as well as keeping charge and custody of prisoners is the duty of the sheriff Id p 2 In the absence of a charter provision to the contrary Under general law the sheriff would be responsible for any security requirements relating to the handling of any prisoners who need to be brought to court Id p 4 The new Courtroom Security Act of 1995 is also discussed in this opinion See 16 2 505 d Tennessee Code Annotated Each county is supposed to have a court security committee in place composed of the county executive the sheriff the district attorney general the presiding judge of the judicial district and a court clerk to determine the security needs of the courtrooms in the county in order to provide safe and secure facilities If it hasn t been done already I suggest that this matter be brought before the County s committee for a possible solution to the dispute Opinion 97 117 also addresses the doctrine of inherent judicial powers Tennessee law has consistently recognized that judges have inherent powers included within the scope of a court s jurisdiction irrespective of specific grant by the constitution or legislation Inherent power is that power essential to the existence dignity and functions of a court from the very fact that it is a court Anderson County Quarterly Court v Judges of the 28th Judicial Circuit 579 S W 2d 875 878 Tenn App 1978 These powers

    Original URL path: http://www.mtas.tennessee.edu/KnowledgeBase.nsf/cae6677dbd7f74a5852573ae005a41d4/ef70de6864aa260385256b98005a8944?OpenDocument (2015-11-11)
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  • Knowledgebase-Authority of City Official or Commission to Appoint Volunteer Fire Chief
    in that charter to bestow all but the narrowest personnel authority over appointive municipal officers and employees on the city manager Indeed the city judge appears to be the only officer or employee under the general law manager commission charter who is expressly appointed by the city commission But we have seen in 6 21 102 of the city charter that the city manager s personnel power extends to any officer or employee of the city responsible to the city manager The statutory and case law outlined in my attached memorandum points to the general proposition that volunteers are not employees But is that true with respect to the city manager s personnel power under the general law manager commission charter Section 6 21 701 of that charter provides that The city manager shall appoint a chief of the fire department and such other members of the department as may be provided by ordinance That provision makes no distinction between a paid fire chief and a volunteer fire chief and it speaks of members of the fire department rather than employees of that department In addition under that section the city manager has the authority to appoint a fire marshal Presumably that is true whether the fire marshal is a paid or voluntary one However one can certainly argue that members in 6 21 701 refers and relates back to any officer or employee of the city responsible to the city manager and that unless the volunteer fire chief and volunteer fire fighters fall in that category the city manager has no personnel authority over them My conclusion is that the city charter being ambiguous on the question of whether the city manager s personnel authority includes the volunteer fire chief and volunteer fire fighters When a statute is ambiguous resort must be had to the rules of statutory construction Under those rules the intention of the General Assembly is the cardinal rule Another rule of statutory construction is that all the statutes on the ambiguity at issue need be read together and reconciled Sections 6 21 102 and 6 21 108 both generally give the city manager personnel authority over all subordinate officers and employees of the city The one express exception in the city charter is the city judge who is appointed by and serves at the will of the board of commissioners But the specific provisions of the charter granting the city manager personnel power with respect to both the police and fire departments do not speak of officers and employees Under 6 21 602 The city manager shall appoint a chief of police and such patrol officers and other members of the police force as may be provided by ordinance That provision does not distinguish between a paid police chief and a volunteer fire chief or between paid members and unpaid members of the police department I have already pointed out above that the same is true of the fire department under 6 21 701 Under

    Original URL path: http://www.mtas.tennessee.edu/KnowledgeBase.nsf/cae6677dbd7f74a5852573ae005a41d4/06f9beaa8304eea6852573c20065a05a?OpenDocument (2015-11-11)
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  • Knowledgebase-Authority of City to Hold Binding or Nonbinding Referendum on Raising Property Tax for Library Purposes
    there can be no binding referendum because this would be in contravention of these laws The General Assembly may authorize nonbinding referenda but there is no general law allowing this and I was able to find no authority for a nonbinding referendum in the City s Charter Therefore in my opinion the City is also without authority to hold a nonbinding advisory referendum on this issue Article X 1 of the City s Charter Chapter No 55 Private Acts of 1993 as amended provides The board of mayor and aldermen shall have and are hereby given the power to levy taxes for all corporate purposes upon all taxable property real personal and mixed within the city This language reserves to the governing body alone the authority to levy property taxes Similarly with respect to library funding Tennessee Code Annotated 10 3 102 a provides that Upon the decision of such city governing body to establish maintain or support a free public library or to contract with another library for library service or to contract with one 1 or more counties or cities for joint operation of a free public library it shall levy for the purpose a property tax or shall use therefor funds raised by taxes for municipal purposes such a library service being declared to be a municipal service Again this statute grants authority to the governing body alone to levy property taxes in this case specifically for library purposes There is no authority in either of these laws for delegating the governing body s authority to the people by referendum Therefore the City is without authority to levy a property tax for library purposes by referendum Although a binding referendum is precluded in this situation under present law there is nothing in the state constitution that prohibits

    Original URL path: http://www.mtas.tennessee.edu/KnowledgeBase.nsf/cae6677dbd7f74a5852573ae005a41d4/45414ab1c3b9da3f85256f0000505705?OpenDocument (2015-11-11)
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  • Knowledgebase-Authority of City to Levy Whatever Tax Rate It Considers Necessary to Fund Municipal Purposes
    cannot sign off on school bond documents certifying that the city has the authority to issue bonds with an assumed tax rate of 2 69 The answer is that the city has the authority to levy a property tax in excess of 1 75 and at whatever level is necessary to fund municipal purposes which certainly includes school purposes Municipal authority in Tennessee to impose taxes for municipal purposes tax derives from Article II Sections 28 and 29 of the Tennessee Constitution and Tennessee Code Annotated section 67 5 1 01 Tennessee Code Annotated section 67 5 103 a also reinforces that authority Tennessee Code Annotated section 67 5 103 b then declares that All existing limitations and restrictions whether restrictive as to total dollar amount or restrictive as to specific uses or a combination of the two 2 where imposed by general or private act or home rule charter upon the maximum rate or amount of any county municipality or metropolitan government ad valorem tax levy are hereby repealed effective January 1 1973 The proposition that the General Assembly has the authority to pass general legislation that affects all municipalities and that supercedes private acts on the same subject

    Original URL path: http://www.mtas.tennessee.edu/KnowledgeBase.nsf/cae6677dbd7f74a5852573ae005a41d4/929fb50975d40ad285256c4b005ceaa8?OpenDocument (2015-11-11)
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  • Knowledgebase-Authority of City to Prohibit Ticket Sales Along City Streets Leading to Speedway
    that case prohibited the sale of tickets for more than their face or standard retail value The Court upheld the statute on the ground that it is within the police power of the state to regulate scalping As far as I can determine the General Assembly has never expressly granted to municipalities the police power to prohibit ticket scalping Neither McQuillin nor Spann deal with your question because they relate to ticket scalping rather than to the traffic problems created by ticket sales in street rights of way For that reason we need not further pursue the question of whether municipalities have the police power to prohibit ticket scalping The city is not interested in prohibiting ticket scalping per se it wants to prohibit the sale of tickets on street rights of way leading to the speedway regardless of the price at which they are sold because of the enormous traffic congestion such sales create In my opinion the city already has that power Municipalities in Tennessee have broad police powers over their streets including those streets designated state highways In fact state highways in municipalities are merely municipal streets over which state traffic is routed Collier v Baker 27 S W 2d 1085 Tenn 1930 Brimer v Municipality of Jefferson City 216 S W 2d 1 Tenn 1948 Paris v Paris Henry County Public Utility District 340 S W 2d 885 Tenn 1960 That police power undoubtedly includes the right to prohibit or regulate the sale of goods and services in those streets In fact municipalities probably have the legal duty to prohibit or regulate such activities when they interfere with the safe and convenient flow of traffic and to otherwise keep their streets safe for passage City of Nashville v Hager 5 Tenn Civ App Higgins 192 1914

    Original URL path: http://www.mtas.tennessee.edu/KnowledgeBase.nsf/cae6677dbd7f74a5852573ae005a41d4/b311141ebb9073a785256c4800642828?OpenDocument (2015-11-11)
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  • Knowledgebase-Authority of City to Prohibit Volunteer Firement From Running Red Lights and Using Sirens
    police chief that such person is a member of such department In the event such warning devices are abused or used for other than their intended purposes by a member of the fire department the local fire chief shall revoke such member s privilege of using such warning devices and shall notify in writing the local sheriff or police chief of such revocation Certain counties are exempted from that provision your county is not among them For that reason it appears that under that statute the fire chief is entitled to certify that volunteers are members of the fire department and that volunteers so designated have a right without further permission of the city to use warning devices approved by the local fire chief in responding a fire alarm or other emergency The City s Municipal Code provides that Authorized emergency vehicles shall be fire department vehicles police vehicles and such ambulances and other emergency vehicles as are designated by the chief of police That provision does not appear to take into account the statutory authority of the fire chief to certify volunteer firemen under Tennessee Code Annotated section 55 9 201 c and 55 9 402 d There are limits on the types of warning devices the fire chief can authorize Tennessee Code Annotated section 55 9 414 a 1 restricts blue lights to full time salaried uniformed law enforcement officers of the state county or city and municipal governments of the state However Tennessee Code Annotated section 55 9 402 d 1 apparently permits flashing red lights on a number of emergency type vehicles including privately owned of regular or volunteer firefighters certified in section 55 9 103 c RUNNING RED LIGHTS AND OTHER TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS Tennessee Code Annotated section 55 8 108 b authorizes the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle to do certain things including run a red light or stop sign provided he does so only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation to exceed the speed limits so long as life or property are not thereby endangered and to disregard regulations governing direction of movement or turning in specified directions Such actions may be taken only when such vehicle is making use of audible and visual signals meeting the requirements of the applicable laws of this state Emphasis is mine Does that requirement apply to the personal vehicles being used by volunteer firemen responding to fire calls Tennessee Code Annotated section 55 9 201 supports the conclusion that it does Subsection a requires every motor vehicle to be equipped with a horn that meets certain standards Subjection b requires every police fire department and fire patrol vehicle and every ambulance and emergency repair vehicle of public service companies used for emergency calls to be equipped with a bell siren or whistle of a type approved by the department or local police authorities in incorporated cities and towns In addition members of volunteer fire department living outside of incorporated communities may equip

    Original URL path: http://www.mtas.tennessee.edu/KnowledgeBase.nsf/cae6677dbd7f74a5852573ae005a41d4/d750a9c73fb12b1e85256c1300641087?OpenDocument (2015-11-11)
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