After much discussion, Loudon County Commission said “no” in a split vote to a request Monday from Loudon County Property Assessor Mike Campbell.
Campbell wanted funding for a program offered through Just Appraised that would be a “tool for our office to become more efficient and to make a step in the progression of technology and records keeping.”
“It’s looking for errors in recorded deeds,” he said. “If it’s a typo, if it’s names, addresses and that data, so when you take a record and you hand write something and then you have to enter it, there is opportunity for distraction and people, we make mistakes. So if we can streamline that with technology to pull it into our system we would like to think that would eliminate some of our woes.”
Campbell was first introduced to the program in August. He estimated Loudon County would have been potentially the first or second in the state to utilize the company’s services.
The service would have cost $8,400 through June 30. Afterward, an expense of $18,960 per year would be implemented if the county continued with the program.
Campbell wanted the service in place now to have “hard numbers” in time for the upcoming budget cycle. He told commissioners if the program failed to measure up during the trial period, it wouldn’t be considered for the next fiscal year.
Commissioners Kelly Littleton-Brewster and Julia Hurley motioned and seconded, respectively, with the vote failing 5-4. Commissioners Gary Whitfield, Henry Cullen, Van Shaver, Adam Waller and David Meers opposed funding. Commissioner Matthew Tinker was absent.
“I was asked by two of the ‘no’ votes to come back next month and they’re looking for more data, more following the procedures,” Campbell said. “They’re wanting me to go before the budget committee. So I’ll go before the budget committee, go through the workshop and then come back before full commission if there’s enough there.”
Cullen voted against the funding because he said he needed more information.
Campbell mentioned the program during public comment at the Oct. 21 workshop, but the item was not on the agenda.
“We need more information to come through the process,” Cullen said. “He went entirely out of the process. ... If we’re going to have policies, we better adhere to them. Come back and explain it a lot more fully than what he did tonight.”
Shaver said he could not vote in favor “if for nothing else” the request came in the middle of the budget cycle.
“There’s also no progress in technology if you don’t spend the money to use it, period, and yes, you’re correct,” Hurley said. “We are basically taking a piece of technology and saying a human can do this, absolutely correct. But at some point there has to be an efficiency system and we advocated for — I mean what are we doing with our records now? We’re having the same issue with all our technology issues that we’ve had. We kept pushing them down the road and kept pushing down the road. ... It saves everything in digital format so that when something can be changed or when it does need to change it we have a digital form.”
Shaver asked if commission was “prepared to commit another $19,000 each year for it.”
“Right now we can test it for six months with no contract, no renewal contract,” Hurley said.
“We either are going to spend $8,400 and it be gone or you’re going to spend $8,400 and then you’re going to commit $19,000 more,” Shaver added.
Commissioners also took a stand against invasive Asian carp by passing a resolution supporting efforts by the Tennessee legislature, Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Tennessee Valley Authority to control and prevent the fish.
“... Loudon County Commission supports the funding and installation of electric barriers to control the movement of invasive Asian carp, especially silver carp, immediately downstream of all the dams located in East Tennessee that contain a barge lock utilized for the movement of waterway traffic (commercial and recreational), especially the Watts Bar Dam, which services the Watts Bar Lake that has less than 42% of its shoreline within Loudon County boundaries,” the resolution reads.
The resolution, which was not discussed at the October workshop, came before commissioners after Loudon County Mayor Rollen “Buddy” Bradshaw was approached by area mayors asking for support, Cullen said. Bradshaw was not present for the meeting.
The resolution, which mentions Roane County, will be sent to the state legislature, Cullen said.
“Looking over the situation it’s worth a resolution to see if we can’t put a stop to it,” he said. “... I hope that it gets out to the Senate and they appropriate the funds to TWRA, TVA and all the outfits to put the equipment up to stop them.”
In other news, Loudon County Commission:
• Approved sale of two small pieces of property in Sugarlimb Industrial Park for a combined $50,000. The money will be split evenly between Loudon County and Loudon.
• Approved a $1 million Community Development Block Grant on behalf of Tellico Area Services System for water tank replacement. Any required matching funds will be provided by TASS.
• Authorized the Surplus Property Authority to sell two lots to TV Holdings LLC. The two pieces of property were delinquent at 183 Noya Way and 301 Okmulgee Circle.
• Set a deadline of 9 a.m. Thursday for a quitclaim deed to be reversed back to the county for land on Cattlemans Drive. If it is not, commissioners gave Loudon County Attorney Bob Bowman approval to get involved.
• Moved forward with approving a multi-year contract for a replacement mail machine for the county office building.
• Passed amendments to County General Fund 101, General Purpose School Fund 141 and School Federal Projects Fund 142.