Author Archives: Patrick Pebley

Budget And Finance Committee Moves To Set Tax Rate

With all of the members of the Budget and Finance Committee, which happens to be the entire Campbell County Commission, in attendance Property Assessor Brandon Partin was on hand to address the county’s tax rate.

In the last meeting of the committee a motion was approved to send a tax rate of $2.25 to the actual commission meeting for a vote. This meeting saw Partin stand before the committee and explain how the reappraisals work.

He addressed several questions from commissioners. Rusty Orick, Ralph Davis, and Dewayne Baird all had questions to be answered.

Orick wanted to know how the reappraisal process and appeals worked. Partin explained in detail that the Property assessors office only did sport reappraisals, giving the example that if a carport is enclosed into the garage that obviously the appraisal would go up and the if they came by a house that suddenly had a gaping hole in a roof then obviously it would go down.

Davis wanted to know why the committee was just seeing the paperwork on this and wondered why Partin had not already presented it. Partin explained to him that the finance director knew of this and that he presented it as soon as the county’s appraisal appeals board was finished was when he did present it as required by law.

Baird asked also of the process and how the costs of homes sold impacted this. Partin explained to him how the process worked and that if you adjusted that way it would be in the year following the sale.

Scott Kitts made the motion that the rate be set at the $2.0659 rate that was recommended by the State Equalization Board. It passed 15-0.

The committee also struck down the previous motion that the rate be set at the $2.225 rate.

Mayor E.L. Morton then presented the committee with the state audit report and the meeting was adjourned.

The County Commission meets July 15th to put the rate to a vote.

Elementary Teachers Participate in BOSCH Community STEM grant

Teachers from across Campbell County participated May 21-22 in a workshop to include problem based learning by using robots to solve everyday problems.
Campbell County schools were awarded to the BOSCH Community fund’s grants for the 2018-2019 school year. The purpose of the grants is to engage stakeholders in understanding STEM and environmental topics. The grants are a charitable effort to make tangible impacts on local BOSCH site communities throughout the United States. Grants are awarded to 501 C3 organizations that offer young people hands on learning experiences in STEM, the environment, or a combination of the two. Campbell County is fortunate to be able to participate in these invitation only grants. Campbell County schools have received two grants from BOSCH; one for $12,898.00 where 14 educators will spend two days at Tremont to learn about project based learning in an environmental setting. A follow on Grant for next year will allow all students to visit Tremont for the environmental experience also. The second Grant will train 27 teachers on developing Project Based Learning for classrooms. This Grant is worth $17,010.00. The Tennessee STEM HUB will provide this two-day training session. These efforts to improve science education in Campbell County are a follow up of 3 summers of training provided by a Math Science Partnership Grant provided in 2017-2019. Contact Gail Stanley for more information.

Damaging Storm K.Os Power Grid.

There was widespread tree damage in Campbell County after the severe thunderstorm hit Friday night.

Friday night’s powerful thunderstorm brought straight line winds approaching 80 mph across the entire area around 11 pm. This storm wreaked havoc on the power grid, downing lines, causing breakers to blow on transformers and sending thousands of people into darkness.

The outages peaked around midnight with over 6000 customers in the LUB footprint in the dark. Jellico Electric and Water also had widespread outages.

As of 12:00pm Saturday LUB’s outage map showed 1950 customers are without power. Down slightly from the 2075 estimated at 7:30am that morning. There were power lines down on Pinecrest Road and Hatmaker Ridge Road that we at the Times witnessed in person, with more lines down and poles broken in other areas.

There was intense tree damage around the Pinecrest area as well as the Back Valley Road area, Davis Chapel, and several other areas around Campbell County. There were trees down in most areas of the county in at least isolated fashion. One tree in Pinecrest fell on a car as it traveled. Another fell on a truck as it sat in a driveway on Hatmaker Ridge.

LUB and Comcast were in the area working on restoring both power and cable to homes in the region throughout the weekend. LUB completed their repairs late Sunday with no word on whether all Comcast customers were restored. Kenny Baird of LUB noted that this outage was more widespread than the outage from the intense thunderstorm that caused major flash flooding two weeks ago. That was also a major outage that required a lot of man hours from LUB workers. They have definitely had a busy month in June as the area has seen round after round of intense storms.

Pat On Politics: Ax The Tax Increase

As anyone who has been on Facebook the last few days surely knows by now our county commission is trying to pull a tax increase on us and trick us into thinking they did not. Well, of course, I can not let this stand without throwing my two cents in.

Thanks to Property Assessor Brandon Partin (he is fighting to keep you informed and protect you) I have the information I need to go after these tax fattened hyenas in the courthouse.

First off here are some facts. The state recently did a reappraisal. State law dictates that during a reappraisal year the county must adopt a Certified Tax Rate (CTR) established by the State Board of Equalization. This is to keep the county tax rate neutral. This is apparently not good enough for the commissioners. They want to keep the same tax rate and thus steal more of your hard earned money.

In legal terms Tennessee Code Annotates tells us “ No tax rate in excess of the certified tax rate may be levied by the county legislative body until a resolution or ordinance has been approved by county legislative body according to the following procedure: (1) the county legislative body must advertise its intent to exceed the certified tax rate in a newspaper of general circulation in the county (See Sample newspaper advertisement of Notice of Intent to Exceed Certified Tax Rate), (2) the county mayor must, within 30 days after publication, furnish to the State Board of Equalization an affidavit of publication; (3) a public hearing must be held on the issue, and (4) the county legislative body, after the public hearing, may adopt a resolution or ordinance levying a tax rate in excess of the certified tax rate.” This is TCA 67-5-1702 if you want to look it up yourself.

Now the high and mighty Budget and Finance Committee (which is made up of the entire commission) has already unanimously decided that the county needs to go ahead and go through this because they apparently do not steal enough of our money already. For full disclosure purposes only ten members were there as a third of them were absent for unknown reasons.

Now I am opposed to a tax increase in any form, especially a property tax one. Though the Libertarian in me believes taxation is theft I also know it is a necessary evil in my life. I prefer the consumption taxes to property and income taxes personally.

The worst part is they could choose to be revenue neutral and adopt the adjusted tax rate where nobody would feel a change. Unfortunately they want more of our money for whatever reason. I am not even sure why as they are not giving the potential new revenue to the school system which is facing a huge shortfall or the road department that is having to repair roads damaged in recent flooding. Nope this money is just going into a fund the hyenas can control.

Now I know some of you would be fine if the schools got the money. Heck I watched the school system make a very difficult move to shutter the alternative school program and move them to the high schools to save money and they almost cut the 6th through 8th grade at White Oak thus banishing those students to a bus ride to Wynn. So if they are going to force this on us why not give it to the people who educate our children.

I even know a number of you would like to see the roads repaved and repaired. I also know this is a controversial subject as to what roads get paved. But at this point the road budget is going to be stretched to a snapping point because of all the rains this spring.

No matter how you feel you need to contact your commissioners and let them know where you stand. You need to PACK the courthouse on July 15th and make them look at you if they choose to vote to steal more of your money. You have to make your voice heard or 15 people will decide for you!

Leach Wins Middle Tennessee Tournament

Even though Cougar Golf does not tee off for a few more weeks Jack Leach is already active and improving his game. Last weekend he played in the Tennessee Junior Open tournament in Rockvale, Tn as part of the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour.

The rising sophomore won the tournament at the Champions Run Golf Club. Leach shot 165 over the two day tournament to win his division. He shot an 84 the first day and improved to an 81 on the second.