Council attorney cites 'problems' with fairgrounds bill

Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 2:14pm

Mayor Karl Dean isn’t the only one who thinks there are legal issues with Metro Councilman Duane Dominy’s bill to preserve the city-owned fairgrounds.

Metro Council attorney Jon Cooper issued an analysis on Thursday citing “a number of legal and technical problems” with Dominy’s ordinance, which is set to go before the council on the second of three votes next Tuesday.

The ordinance would essentially reassign the mission of Metro’s Board of Fair Commissioners. The board, as outlined in the legislation, would not be allowed to sell or lease the 117-acre property until the city purchases another site on which to hold the Tennessee State Fair, expo center events and auto racing.

Typically, Cooper reviews bills before they make it onto the council’s agenda. In this case, Dominy admittedly submitted his bill at the last minute so as not to show his hand.

Cooper cites several legal or technical issues that he recommends be fixed via amendments prior to the bill’s second reading. Contacted by The City Paper, Dominy indicated he’s willing to make any necessary changes.

“If there’s amendments that need to be done, we’ll pursue those,” Dominy said. “That’s perfectly fine.”

Cooper raises the following issues:

• The ordinance would prohibit the fair board from leasing or selling the fairgrounds property unless property of a similar size, location and value is acquired by the board. But Cooper says this is problematic because the fair board does not and cannot actually own property. “Rather, all such property must be owned in the name of [Metro].”

• The fair board does not have the authority to sell or transfer the fairgrounds property in the manner contemplated in the ordinance. “Only the council can authorize the sale or transfer of government-owned property.”

In addition, Cooper says the council already approved $2 million to build a 40-acre park at the fairgrounds site. The park is outlined in Dean’s capital spending plan, which the council approved unanimously.

Cooper also says Dominy’s ordinance fails to include a mechanism for funding fairgrounds operations if revenues generated by the facilities are insufficient.

“Presumably, the council would need to make a supplemental appropriation from the undesignated fund balance of the general fund in the event of a shortfall at the fairgrounds once the fairgrounds reserve fund has been depleted,” Cooper writes. 


Filed under: City News

6 Comments on this post:

By: lisaleeds2008 on 11/12/10 at 9:18

Just more lies to add to the rest.. They (Mayor Dean and his Crones) are doing anything they can to us to keep us from winning this.. There are laws written in the charter what is the deal?? See you need to let the people be heard. If they want to keep the fairgrounds I think you just need to leave this alone.. Please someone need to just tell the truth for once.. When the truth is in your face why can you not just ect that you have been had...

Please come Join the FHPG for a protest on Nov. 16th at 2pm till 4pm and the Council meeting is at 6pm at the County Court House on the Sidewalk. You can bring signs but we will have some as well. PLEASE COME HELP US SAVE THE TENNESSEE STATE FAIRGROUNDS. and send a MESSAGE to Mayor Dean the we will not take these LIES any More...

By: MAmom on 11/12/10 at 1:57

May Town opposition - it sounds like Dean is coming after you next!

By: gdiafante on 11/12/10 at 2:37

Just nuke the fairgrounds already. I'm getting sick of hearing about this crap.

By: fair_minded on 11/12/10 at 6:15

i'd suggest mr. cooper go back and read the charter and private acts again... neither the Fair Board nor Metro Council have the authority to sell the Fairgrounds, even though the deed is in the name of Davidson County. although under the acts and the charter, the Fair Board has "complete charge and control" of the fairgrounds property.

And as far as Dean's park at the Fairgrounds, as i understand it, what metro council approved was the over-all budget for capital spending-- NOT each individual item. but even if that is not the case, what metro council approves, it can come back and disapprove-- they still have the authority to tell the mayor he must back off from the fairgrounds.

And the charter and existing legislation provide for two funding mechanisms-- (1) the Fair Board is authorized to mortgage the property to raise funds-- property worth probably $30 million by conservative estimate., and (2) a "fair tax" is authorized to raise funds for the Fair operations. Neither of these would affect the general fund and are outside the usual metro funding sources.

By: MAmom on 11/12/10 at 8:42

All change is not progress.

Save-the-Fairgrounds people want to PROTECT and take care of the Fairgrounds for current and future Nashvillians. It is valuable to us – but not because of it’s “redevelopment” potential. It is valuable to us for non-monetary reasons – because it is a wonderful, rustic place that gives people a place to do really neat things. We know that if preserved – one day soon it will be an oasis in a sea of buildings and concrete.

Karl Dean measures things in Dollar Signs only. That is all he sees when he looks at the Fairgrounds. In his campaign to EXPLOIT the Fairgrounds Dean has made a lot of unsubstantiated claims about why it should be done. He has overstated benefits of "redevelopment". We have seen that he is a sneaky, manipulative, dishonorable man that will do anything to get his way.

Please help us protect the Fairgrounds.

Email/call Metro Council representatives and let them know you want to save the Fairgrounds. Also, please attend the next Council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 16.

By: orangey on 11/13/10 at 4:17

Dominy needs to work for his own district and stay out of Council member Moore's district. His bill and logic and actions are flawed. Change is coming to the fairgrounds property and HH Mall. Bye Bye acres of surface asphalt parking and block barns. Bring on the bulldozers!