By BRIAN GRAVES
The Bradley County Commission voted 11-2 Monday to reimburse a local contractor part of the money he said he was ordered to spend on a subdivision which he claims was unnecessary.Chairman Louie …
The Bradley County Commission voted 11-2 Monday to reimburse a local contractor part of the money he said he was ordered to spend on a subdivision which he claims was unnecessary.
Chairman Louie Alford and Commissioner Dan Rawls voted against the payment. Vice Chairman Jeff Yarber was absent.
Mike Crittenden has said he was told he would have to do the work at Stonehenge subdivision concerning a water drainage situation, but later found out it was not work he should have been required to do.
On the recommendation of the Finance Committee, the county will pay Crittenden $33,894 with the stipulation it will not be paid until March 2018 and Crittenden will be required to sign a letter saying that ends the matter.
That amount is $24,750 less than the total the contractor says he spent, but was willing to settle for that amount.
“I’m happy with the decision,” Crittenden said after the meeting.
But, the decision came after Rawls said paying the money would set a bad precedent for the county and passed out a document showing Crittenden owed more than $33,000 in real and personal property taxes.
“Clearly, the Tennessee Code Annotated says we’re not liable for this. Our county attorney has said we’re not liable for this. Our insurance company has said we’re not liable for this. So, there is case law that indicates we’re not liable for this,” Rawls said. “The people that we hire to give us advice, the insurance company we hire to protect us and give us advice, Tennessee law and case law says we don’t owe this money.”
“My opinion is Mr. Crittenden did not cross all of his ‘t’s and dot all of his ‘i’s,” he said. “I don’t see how the taxpayers are responsible for this. I don’t think it sets a good precedent. You are setting yourself up for future problems here.”
Commissioner Charlotte Peak said the confusion was the original discussions about the rear of the subdivision.
“When Mike Crittenden found out there was a letter of credit attached to the rear of the subdivision that was supposed to fix those issues, he took it upon himself to fix it based on he would get paid for it,” Peak said. “After that was finished, the road was taken in. All of these other things you are hearing about is in the front of the subdivision and had nothing to do with the rear. If there were problems with the front, they should have never taken in the road.”
“There are plenty of laws to get us out if it,” Peak said, responding to Rawls’ comments. “But, the county dropped the ball. Right is right and wrong is wrong.”
Commissioner Terry Caywood said he did not take issue with what Rawls said, but felt paying Crittenden was the right thing to do.
“I am sure of one thing. We are elected to represent the people of Bradley County and when we drop the ball, and we did and I take guilt for that, because the people that we hired to do this didn’t get their part done,” Caywood said. “When [Crittenden] looked at what he thought he was purchasing, he thought he had the approval of the county and could recover the expenses. I will feel guilty if I don’t support him recouping some of his money because it’s our fault.”
After the 11-2 vote, Rawls handed out a document showing that Crittenden is past due on property taxes as much as five years in some cases.
“Since we voted to do this, I think before this money is paid, all the back taxes need to be paid on Mr. Crittenden’s properties,” Rawls said.
Peak and Commissioner Thomas Crye said they were surprised the taxes owed were that small and those back taxes are standard procedure for builders.
“A builder typically builds the house and pays no taxes on the lot or the house, until the house is sold and all delinquent taxes are paid at the closing,” Crye explained “That is a typical practice of all builders.”
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