Town of Smyrna to Hold Referendum on General Sessions Court

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The Smyrna Town Council voted Tuesday night to give the citizens of Smyrna the right to decide whether they want to continue funding the Smyrna General Sessions Court or return the court’s duplicated functions to Rutherford County.

Concerns surrounding the Smyrna General Sessions Court arose after the new Smyrna Police Chief, Jason Irvin, took office in December 2022. Chief Irvin expressed concerns to the administration regarding the safety and liability of officers tasked with transporting inmates to and from the county jail in Murfreesboro to the Smyrna General Sessions Court, as well as handling booking, serving warrants, and extraditing criminals.

In response to Chief Irvin’s concerns, Mayor Mary Esther Reed requested that Town Manager Brian Hercules collaborate with Finance Director Rex Gaither to assess the court’s impact on the budget. The findings revealed that the annual direct expenses of the General Sessions Court exceeded half a million dollars.

“Based on these findings, I believe it is crucial to provide our citizens with the opportunity to decide whether they want to continue funding a duplicated General Sessions Court system. Currently, Smyrna residents are paying both town and county taxes to support the Smyrna General Sessions Court,” said Mayor Reed.

Smyrna is the only municipality in the county that operates its own General Sessions Court, while Murfreesboro, LaVergne, and Eagleville utilize the Rutherford County court system.

To return the court to Rutherford County, the Smyrna Town charter requires a Town Council vote to hold a referendum, giving citizens the power to decide whether to eliminate the duplicated functions and funding of the General Sessions Court.

Additionally, returning the General Sessions Court to Rutherford County will allow the Town of Smyrna to allocate additional police officers to the streets, better serving and protecting its citizens.

The municipal court will continue to operate and serve the people of Smyrna.

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