BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
A number of Greene County citizens are circulating a petition for "home rule" that, if successful, could change the entire way in which the county government is run.
A "Property Tax Rally" related to this proposed change will be held from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday in the parking lot of the former Olde Town Family Restaurant, located on the Andrew Johnson Highway, near Snapps Ferry Road.
Saturday's rally will feature the following speakers: Doug Brooks, Ronnie Lintz, PK Lowrey, Wendy Hankins, Marty Copelin, Frank Barwick, and Don McIntyre.
A spokesman said that topics will include: "Taxed Enough Already," "Tax Reduction," "Tough Times Ahead," "We the People," "County Spending Gone Wild," "It's Happened Elsewhere," "How Did We Get Here," and, "It Takes Work to Succeed."
There will also be an open microphone where rally attendees will be able to speak.
"'Home rule' is a provision in the Tennessee Constitution which allows citizens to create the framework of rules by which their county government must abide," according to information circulated by the group, referred to as "Citizens for Greene County Home Rule."
Currently, Greene County, like almost all other Tennessee counties, operates under state laws that pertain to all counties unless a particular county legally establishes a different type of operation.
The Citizens group is calling for home rule as a means to "establish pro-taxpayer rules such as 'Citizens Voting on All Tax Increases' and "Recall and Term Limits for Elected Officials,"" according to a flyer.
"It's a long process," said PK Lowery, who has been instrumental in forming the petitions and organizing Saturday's event.
Lowery explained that the petition must first gain the necessary number of signatures -- 10 percent of the number who voted in the last gubernatorial election.
He said this number was around 18,000 votes, which would require 1,800 legally acceptable signatures on the petition.
The next requirement would be the election of a charter commission of seven members, one from each County Commission district.
This commission would be responsible for drafting and presenting the new charter proposal, according to the petition.
This charter would then go to referendum.
The Greene County Commission would have a certain length of time to place the charter on referendum before it would automatically go to the Election Commission to be put on the county ballot, Lowery said.
He noted that he and others in the Citizens group have been working with the Secretary of State's Office, Division of Elections, to learn of this process.
Guidelines for petitions include the following:
* Only registered voters of Greene County may sign.
* The signature must be that of the registered voter. No one may sign for someone else.
* Only sign one time on only one petition.
* Information should match information on the voter registration card.
* Only street address may be used, no P.O. boxes.
More information, including petitions and voter registration, is available online at greenecountyhomerule.com, or at the Cobble Law Firm, located at 1315 E. Andrew Johnson Highway, in the basement of the Papa John's building.
Submit petitions by mailing them to Citizens for Greene County Home Rule, P.O. Box 1784, Greeneville, TN 37744, or by bringing them to the Cobble office.