Finance panel considers road list requests
by CHRISTY ARMSTRONG  Banner Staff Writer
Feb 06, 2014 | 652 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Recognizing roads that are on maps, but not on Bradley County’s list of roads has been revisited by county officials.

Hearkening back to Dec. 2, 2013, when the Bradley County Commission voted to accept Roumelia Lane as a county road after it was found to not have been accepted with other nearby roads, the Bradley County Finance Committee has been facing more requests to remedy such situations.

The request came after a woman who owned property along Roumelia Lane was denied a building permit because her lot did not adjoin a road, despite her having purchased the property with the understanding there was supposed to be a road there.

The Commission voted to have the road added to the county’s road list and paved with gravel rather than more expensive paving materials.

Finance Committee Chair Ed Elkins said commissioners had at the time been warned that taking action on the matter could create a precedent and have “unintended consequences.” 

“Sure enough, they have surfaced,” he said Wednesday.

Commissioner Mel Griffith, who chairs the county’s Road Committee, said there are at least two properties it may bring to the finance committee’s attention closer to the start of the new fiscal year this summer.

Griffith said he believed there may be other roads thought to have been on properties, but actually are not.

Elkins said the county did not know how many such requests it would receive, which made it difficult for the finance committee to plan to fix any future roads the way it did for Roumelia Lane.

During the Commission’s most recent meeting, it voted to support a pair of bills being discussed in the Tennessee General Assembly to allow any solid waste management revenues beyond $1 million to be used for purposes other than sanitation.

Griffith said the road committee had discussed the idea of using those excess funds for roads, if the state law changes.

However, Elkins said nothing was certain when it came to the state Legislature.

With plans for the next budget year coming within the next few months, Elkins said it would be good if the committee could come up with a “long-range vision” for the county’s future budgetary needs. However, he said the Roumelia Lane project was already costing the county $30,000. He was concerned about the county finding funds for similar cases which might be presented in the future.

“You can’t do it for one and not the others,” Elkins said.

Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis said the Roumelia Lane case was one in which the developer was responsible for selling a property with the promise of a road being built on it. The builder never went through the process of ensuring a road was actually built.

When the Commission was discussing the possible resolution, it was said that the area had been developed in the 1970s, and plans included the road. Roumelia Lane was not recorded when a list of roads was compiled in the 1980s.

Though the road was on maps, he said it was not added to the county road list because a physical road had not actually been created.

“It was not a county issue,” Davis said.

Elkins said the landowner had been paying property taxes as if there had been a road there, so he understood why she wanted the county to take action.

He said there were “good arguments on both sides of the issue,” but worried about a possible “deluge of requests.”

Though the finance committee did not vote to take any action on the matter, Elkins said he wanted the committee to be aware of the possibility more requests for new roads might be made.

Also at the meeting, committee members voted to accept a few budget amendments.

They voted to add $3,984 to the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office’s service charges account for providing traffic direction and security detail at Bradley Central High School, First Baptist Church, Lake Forest Middle School and Rutledge Home Moving and Remodeling.

The contribution and gifts fund of the Bradley County Juvenile Court saw a $500 increase after accepting a donation from a local resident to be used for the Junior Master Gardening Program.

The committee approved a request from the Bradley County Health Department to move $30,331 from one of its accounts to another. The money had been given to the department as part of a grant to fund its car seat program. It was placed in the appropriate account.

Southeast Tennessee Community Corrections recently received a grant to give its employees a 1.5 percent raise. The committee voted to have the $2,908 added to its “other state grants” account.

The committee also voted to add $3,000 to county Parks and Recreation funds after companies Express Athletics and MurMaid Mattress each donated $1,500 for baseball dugout repairs.

Rounding out the list of approved budgetary changes was a request for the Sheriff’s Office to add $903.68 to its accounts after a local resident who backed into a county-owned vehicle paid damages to the department.