published Saturday, January 25th, 2014

South Pittsburg board votes to change charter

SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. — In order to speed up the process of passing new ordinances, city leaders are planning to change South Pittsburg's charter.

"As it stands now, when we pass an ordinance in the city, we have to have three readings on that ordinance," City Administrator Sammy Burrows said. "State law requires only two readings."

The South Pittsburg City Commission voted unanimously recently to approve Resolution 941, which requests the change be approved by state lawmakers.

At a recent training session for city government officials, Mayor Jane Dawkins said she discovered South Pittsburg was perhaps the only municipality in the state that required more than two readings for an ordinance's final approval.

"We found out the rest of the towns in the state of Tennessee did two readings," Dawkins said. "We just haven't caught up."

Dawkins said the three-reading measure was put into the city charter in 1917.

Burrows said there have been "concerns" among city leaders in recent months about "delays in getting things done."

The board had to hold several special called meetings in the last few months to "push through" a proposed expansion by a local industry, he said.

State Sen. Janice Bowling, R-Tullahoma, is scheduled to introduce the change in Nashville soon, officials said, and it will have to be approved by state legislators.

Dawkins said state lawmakers will be examining requests for private acts next week, so "we need to get this in the hopper."

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryan

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