Spotlight Date: 
August, 2000

It is time to update you again on the progress counties across the state have made in adopting growth plans in compliance with Tennessee’s growth policy law, Public Chapter 1101. We are very pleased to report that seventy-five counties, including 278 municipalities, now have growth plans in effect. With the most recent approvals at the end of June, only eighteen counties still lack completed plans, since the state’s two metro counties are exempt from the planning requirements. This high success rate is a testimonial to what local governments can accomplish by working together and a victory for those who believed in the process, even in the face of gloomy predictions of failure. Congratulations to all of you who worked hard and achieved such excellent results!

With the formulation of growth plans nearing completion, local governments need to be aware of further requirements under Public Chapter 1101. In addition to a growth plan, the law specifies that each county is to form a joint economic and community development board. This board is to be established by interlocal agreement between the county and its municipalities, and its purpose is to encourage all segments of the local community to communicate about development issues. Members of the board are determined by agreement, but must include the county executive, mayors, representatives from industry and the private sector, and an owner of greenbelt property. It is funded by the participating governments. More specific requirements for this board are set out in Section 15 of Public Chapter 1101 (as codified in T.C.A. § 6-58-114), and are summarized in the enclosed outline.

As an alternative to establishing a new board, the law provides that an existing organization in the county may serve this function if it is “sufficiently similar” to the statutory requirements, summarized above. The county executive may apply to the Local Government Planning Advisory Committee in the Department of Economic and Community Development for certification if there is an existing agency similar to the one described in statute. This committee has approved a set of guidelines by which it determines the similarity of existing agencies, so any county wishing to submit an existing agency for approval should examine these closely for compliance. The committee’s approval and certification are required only if the county seeks to use an existing agency, not if a new board is created.

The formation of an economic and community development board is a requirement under Public Chapter 1101, and the failure to satisfy it will have important economic impacts for both counties and municipalities. The law states that “[w]hen applying for any state grant a city or county shall certify its compliance with the requirements of this section.” (Emphasis added.) Based upon this language, local governments will not qualify for any state grant unless they certify in the grant application that the board is in place. Although the law does not specify when this requirement is to take effect, it is likely that after July 1, 2001, state grants will be available only for counties and municipalities which have formed a joint economic and community development board.

Please note that the joint economic and development board is a requirement separate from and in addition to the growth plan, even though failure to satisfy either one may result in the loss of grants. All counties, even those with growth plans in place, must also establish this board. Also note that the penalty applies for all state grants, not just development grants listed in a another section of the statute. Several counties across the state have already formed an economic and community development board or have received approval of an existing organization to fulfill this function.

Public Chapter 1101 provides the necessary framework for the joint economic and development board, but it also allows great flexibility in the way the board functions in each county. The law provides for minimum membership requirements, terms of office for members, an executive committee, minimum meeting requirements, and a funding formula. (See enclosed outline for minimum requirements.) Within this basic structure, however, there are many options, representing a broad range of responsibilities that may be delegated to the board.

Some counties have chosen to limit the board to what is essentially an advisory function. Public Chapter 1101 states that the purpose of the board is “to foster communication relative to economic and community development between and among governmental entities, industry, and private citizens.” At its most basic level, then, the law simply requires representatives from different community interests to meet and to talk. The interlocal agreement creating the board may narrowly define its function in these terms, in which case necessary funding would be minimal. (CTAS has drafted a sample agreement of this nature which we have enclosed for reference.) The type of board created in each county will depend upon the needs of the community and all the local governments involved.

If your county has not established a joint economic and community development board as required by Public Chapter 1101, there are several sources of information that may be of help to you in this process. First, the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations has published a guidebook entitled “Joint Economic and Community Development Boards: A Guide for Future Action” (available on the web: It explains the requirements of Public Chapter 1101and provides model agreements. Second, we have compiled a file of several agreements other counties have used, as well as the sample agreement creating a simple board, referenced above. We also have a copy of the guidelines used by the Local Government Planning Advisory Committee in determining “sufficiently similar” status. If you need any of these materials or other advice regarding this issue, contact the CTAS county government consultant for your area.


PURPOSE - To foster communication relative to economic and community development between and among governmental entities, industry, and private

1. County Executive
2. Mayors or city managers of “larger” municipalities
3. Mayors or city managers of “smaller” municipalities - may be represented on a rotating basis
4. Owner of greenbelt property
5. Representative of industry and business
6. Others optional, as determined by agreement

1. Elected Officials - Terms correspond to terms for elected office
2. Others
a. Maximum terms of 4 years, as determined by agreement
b. Staggered terms

1. County Executive
2. Mayors or city managers of “larger” municipalities
3. Others may be selected by the full board

1. Full Board - at least 4 times annually
2. Executive Committee - at least 8 times annually
3. Open Meetings Act applies
4. Minutes and certification of attendance required

FUNDING FORMULA - Add population of county (from last federal decennial census) to populations of each city (from last federal decennial census or special census at least 5 years after the last federal decennial census). Determine percentage that population of each governmental entity bears to the total. Board may accept donations and grants.


This interlocal agreement is made among the participating governments which are as follows:

County: ___________________ Municipalities: ___________________



WHEREAS, Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 6-58-114, requires each county and its municipalities to establish a joint economic and community development board by interlocal agreement; and

WHEREAS, counties and municipalities are authorized to enter into interlocal agreements by Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 5-1-113;

NOW, THEREFORE, the participating governments agree as follows:

1. NAME. There is hereby created the _______________ County Joint Economic and Community Development Board (“Board”).

2. PURPOSE. The purpose of the Board shall be to foster communication relative to economic and community development between and among governmental entities, industry, and private citizens.

3. AUTHORITY. The Board is authorized to take the following actions:
[Note: Not specified in statute. Should be drafted to accommodate needs of the parties.]

f. ab To discuss the interrelationship among commercial, governmental, private, and other interests in the community and to identify ways to coordinate development efforts among these interests; and

g. ab To develop recommendations regarding economic and community development and to advise the legislative bodies of the participating governments of those recommendations.

4. MEMBERSHIP. The Board shall consist of the following members, who shall serve without compensation:

a. ab The County Executive of ____________ County, Tennessee.

b. ab The Mayor [or city manager] of city of ____________, Tennessee, the largest municipality, by population, in the county.

c. ab The Mayor [or city manager] of city of ____________, Tennessee, the municipality with the second largest population in the county.

d. ab The Mayor [or city manager] of one the remaining incorporated municipalities in the county, which are as follows: ____________, Tennessee;
____________, Tennessee; and ____________, Tennessee. The representatives from these municipalities shall serve one term each, in the order listed above, on a rotating basis.
[Note: All municipalities may be represented.]

e. ab One person who owns land qualifying for classification and valuation under Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 67, Chapter 5, Part 10, to be nominated by the County Executive and confirmed by the legislative body of ____________ County.

f. ab One person representing industrial or commercial interests, to be selected by the Board at its first meeting.
[Note: Board membership listed above satisfies the minimum statutory requirements, although the intent of the law was to include wider representation.
Additional members may be added.]

5. MEETINGS. The County Executive shall call the first meeting of the Board and serve as interim chair until all Board members are elected. After the Board is complete, the Board shall meet at least four times annually and the Executive Committee shall meet at least eight times annually. All meetings of the Board and the Executive Committee shall be documented by minutes and certification of attendance, and are subject to the Open Meetings Act, Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 8-44-101 et seq.

6. OFFICERS. At the first meeting after all Board members are chosen, the Board shall elect a Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary-Treasurer from among the members. The Chair shall call regular and special meetings of the Board and Executive Committee and preside over all meetings. The Vice-Chair shall serve as Chair in the Chair’s absence. The Secretary-Treasurer shall keep minutes of all meetings and shall serve as chief financial officer.

7. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE. There shall be an Executive Committee composed of the following members of the Board: the County Executive and the mayors [or city managers] selected according to Sections (a), (b), and (c) above.
[Note: Satisfies minimum statutory requirements; additional members may be added by the Board.]

8. TERMS OF OFFICE. Terms for positions held by elected officials shall coincide with the terms of office for their elected positions. The remaining members shall serve initial terms of two years. After the initial two-year terms of these members, those subsequently selected shall serve four-year terms.
[Note: Length of terms to be determined by parties, with a maximum of 4 years. Terms must be staggered.]

9. RULES OF ORDER. All business shall be transacted in accordance with the latest edition of Roberts Rules of Order.

10. FUNDING. In order to obtain revenues needed to provide meeting space, costs associated with providing adequate notice under the Open Meetings Act, and other functions necessary to the authority granted to the Board, activities of the Board shall be jointly funded by the participating governments. As provided in Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 6-58-114(g), the funding formula for determining the funds due from each government shall be determined by adding the population of the entire county as established by the last federal decennial census to the populations of each city as determined by the last federal decennial census, or special census as provided for in Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 6-51-114, and then determining the percentage that the population of each governmental entity bears to the total amount. In the event of a special census, the formula shall be adjusted as provided in Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 6-58-114(g)(2). The Board may also accept and expend donations, grants, and payments from persons and entities other than the participating governments.

11. BUDGET. An annual budget to fund the activities of the board shall be recommended by the Executive Committee to the Board, which shall adopt a budget before the first day of April of each year. The total budgetary amount shall not exceed funds necessary to provide for meetings of the Board and costs incident thereto. After adoption of the budget, the funding formula established above shall then be applied to the total amount as the participating governments’ contributions for the ensuing fiscal year. The budget and a statement of the amount due from each participating government shall be immediately filed with the appropriate officer of each government.
11. MODIFICATION. This Agreement may be amended or modified upon agreement of the governing bodies of the parties to the agreement. Any such modification must be in writing.

12. OTHER AGREEMENTS. Nothing contained in this Agreement shall prohibit or restrict any of the parties from entering into other interlocal agreements as provided by law.

13. EFFECTIVE DATE AND DURATION. This Agreement shall become effective upon approval by each of the legislative bodies of the participating governments, and upon execution of the Agreement by the authorized officials representing each. This Agreement shall remain in effect until terminated by the participating governments.

14. APPROVAL. By executing this Agreement, each official below signifies to the other participants that this Agreement has been lawfully approved by the participating governing body which that official represents.

[Note: Representatives of participating governments sign below.]