Original Author: Leydorf, Donna
Date of Material: 02/21/2001
Alcoholic beverages--Laws and regulations
Disabled--Laws and regulations
Elections--Initiatives and referendums
Taxes--Payment in lieu of taxes
MTAS was asked whether the city is required to provide handicap access to the second floor walking track in its new recreation building, if the Electric Company can change its monthly in-lieu of tax payments to a single annual payment, and whether the City can put 'liquor by the drink' back on the ballot during the next election since the measure was approved in the last election.
MTAS has received your letter dated Feb. 7, 2001 in which you asked the following three questions:
1. Is the city required to provide handicap access to the second floor walking track in its new recreation building, currently under construction?
Generally, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, new construction IS required to provide such access. For guidance in this matter, you may contact the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (also called the Access Board) at 1.800.872.2253, or visit the web site at GOTOBUTTON BM_1_ www.access-board.gov. We have quite a few materials on the ADA here in the library. Your architect should also be aware of the construction standards. I’m also enclosing a publications list which you can get by fax through an automated phone system.
2. Can the Electric Company change its monthly in-lieu of tax payments to a single annual payment?
The provisions for an electrical utility making in-lieu-of payments to local government are found in §§ 7-52-302 - 310, Tennessee Code Annotated. In my review of these code sections, I found no reference to the schedule of payments. §7-52-304 (4) mentions that the total amount to be paid “shall be set forth in a resolution adopted by the municipality’s governing body after consultation with the supervisory body.” §7-52-306 mentions a “contract for distribution” of the tax equivalent amounts.
In short, I see no schedule for payments of the in-lieu-of tax. Most property tax is paid annually, so the utility is probably correct that it could make a single payment each year. You might ask the City Recorder if there is a resolution setting forth the amount to be paid, or any contract the City has agreed to regarding distribution of the amounts collected. Either or both of these documents might address any payment schedule that has been agreed to by the City and the utility. If that information is lacking from these documents, (or, worse case, if the documents either can’t be found or don’t exist), then the City could try negotiate a payment schedule other than annual. If there is no written agreement and the utility won’t negotiate, the City is probably stuck with payment however the utility sees fit.
3. Can the City put “liquor by the drink” back on the ballot during the next election since the measure was approved in the last election?
The “local option” statute, § 57-3-106 (f)(2), Tennessee Code Annotated, provides that no more than one election can be held on this issue within any period of twenty-four (24) months. If the measure had failed by more than sixty per cent of the votes cast, the waiting period would have been extended to four (4) years from the date of the previous election.
Please let me know if you have other questions about the matters addressed.
Donna M. Leydorf