Johnson County commissioners gathered to meet for their regular monthly meeting but quickly adjourned to meet in an executive and closed session to discuss the Ten Commandment lawsuit filed by Ralph Stewart against Johnson County. The commissioners were joined by attorneys Jeff Ward with Milligan and Coleman and Nate Kellum with the Alliance Defense Fund. After meeting for approximately an hour and ten minutes, the commissioners returned back to the court room to continue with the February commissioners meeting.
With the budget amendments quickly passed, Commissioner Jerry Grindstaff addressed the commissioners regarding an item that was tabled from last months meeting. Grindstaff had spoken with the state planner in reference to a resolution to remove the exception to subdivision regulations to be divided along an already existing public road. The concern was the condition of the county road leading into the subdivision. Grindstaff suggested that Mayor Potter appoint three or four commissioners to a highway committee. The members of this committee would review the road conditions of the new subdivisions. Should they feel the road was in need of widening or repairs, they would consult Road Superintendent Tony Jennings. Whether or not the roads would be repaired is dependent on what monies are available. Information would be presented to the developer of the subdivision as to their findings. The resolution was passed.
As there were no other committee reports, four notaries were approved by the commissioners, as well as approving a $10,000 county official bond for one deputy sheriff. Commissioners Kenneth Sluder and Larry Potters were replaced on the Agriculture Committee by Commissioners Huey Long and John Brookshire.
County attorney Bill Cockett addressed the commissioners regarding the resolution to oppose the Hall Income Tax. The Hall Income Tax refers to taxes paid by individuals on interest and dividend income. One-third of the money received from this tax is given back to the counties in proportion to the amount residents of their county paid into this tax. Tennessee collected approximately $172 million last year, with Johnson County receiving $93,466 of these tax monies. If the Hall Income Tax is removed, counties across the state will lose this source of revenue. The commissioners voted unanimously to approve a resolution to oppose Hall Income Tax cuts.
The final action item of the meeting was the reading of a resolution by Cockett concerning the removal of what is known as ditch dirt, such as dirt and rocks. The commissioners voted to allow Tony Jennings to continue to use his discretion in removing and disposing of the ditch dirt as long as it is not for any financial gain. The meeting was adjourned at 8:55 p.m, with a motion made by Commissioner Dean Stout.