Commissioners Van Shaver and Kelly Littleton-Brewster provided the
motion and second for Monday’s action.
“I think we have gone over this numerous times and I think it’s past
time that we do something about it,” Littleton-Brewster said during
Commission Chairman Steve Harrelson said the next step involves
soliciting architectural firms for information before ultimately
putting it out to bid. Commission must adopt a debt issuance
resolution in the future, which will give Budget Director Tracy
Blair and Mayor Rollen “Buddy” Bradshaw the authority to secure the
“Then we can do the bid process after that with the final plans and
alternates and what else we can see exactly how much money we’ve got
available and go ahead and pass a resolution to borrow the money to
do the renovations,” Harrelson said. “... This is showing that we
have committed to go ahead and take that next step and commit
funding of up to $15 million and get started on the project that
we’ve all been wanting to take care of for some time. It’s just good
to see that come to a reality finally.”
Ninth Judicial District Attorney General Russell Johnson, on behalf
of the Loudon County Corrections Partnership Committee, presented
Monday a $17.5 million proposal, which included four jail pods to
accommodate 246 beds and new booking, visitation, kitchen, laundry
and recreation areas but no additional parking. Bed space did
include renovations of existing dorm housing for 14 beds for women,
but other work at the current facility would come later.
Johnson and Sheriff Tim Guider said funding over $15 million could
come through a resolution to include Loudon County in a potential
litigation tax increase of up to $50.
Johnson requested commission pass the resolution by a two-thirds
majority per a request from state Rep. Jimmy Matlock’s, R-Lenoir
City, who would then introduce the necessary legislation in the
Tennessee General Assembly. Monday’s vote failed 3-7, with
Commissioners Shaver, Harrelson, Littleton-Brewster, David Meers,
Earlena Maples, Henry Cullen and Matthew Tinker opposing.
Tinker voted against the litigation tax because he felt it was not
“necessary to do at this time.”
“There are other means of paying for things like that without
putting another tax on the citizens that use the courts,” Tinker
said. “If it were just going to be the criminals who were taxed then
I would be more for it like ... when we were supporting the judge,
but this would be for anyone who uses the court and like the
district attorney said, the criminals don’t have a lot of money so
most of the revenue’s going to come from people who are able to pay
Harrelson said the county could come back to the issue later should
additional funds be needed.
Commissioners have talked about paying for a jail addition through
freed up money in the general debt service, with $400,000 available
next year and another $275,000 in 2020. A document presented at a
jail committee meeting last week show a $30 litigation tax would
bring in an estimated $234,000 per year with a 60 percent collection
rate. A $50 tax would bring in $390,000 with the same rate.
The idea is still to do the jail in phases, Harrelson said.
“Ideally I would like to do new construction on the pods, the new
pods for jail space now and do renovations on the old jail space,”
Harrelson said. “The reason being because it’s for maximum bed space
and I think the more beds that we can provide right now with that
$15 million the less chance we have the state coming back any time
in the near future saying, ‘You’re overcrowded. You’ve got to come
up with some more money to do some more additions or build a new
Hopes are for the jail committee to meet and start developing
“alternates” to help show commissioners what the jail addition would
cost if certain sections were added, Harrelson said.
“If we can do alternates on those then we can see what the rest of
it’s going to cost and add in those alternates as we are able to to
fit within our budget,” he said.
In other news, Loudon County Commission:
• Passed funding assistance to provide water at Luttrell Community
Center for $3,200.
• Provided required matching funds of $345,850 for voting
• Authorized application/acceptance for a $21,000 ballistic vest
50 percent match grant for Loudon County Sheriff’s Office, a
$3,000 Dollar General Literacy Foundation no-match grant for
Greenback Public Library and two $3,000 Pettway Foundation
no-match grants for Lenoir City and Greenback public libraries.
• Voted unanimously in favor of authorizing a continuous
four-year appraisal cycle for the county.
• Recognized March as American Legion Month.
• Extended appointments for people on the Loudon County
Corrections Partnership Committee, Loudon County Solid Waste
Disposal Commission and Loudon County Surplus Property
Authority, with the only change that Philadelphia Mayor Chris
Miller would join the jail committee.
• Renewed Chris Wampler’s services for 2017-18 as the county’s
• Agreed sending out for bid the removal of the Centre 75
Business Park fence.
• Passed a multi-year contract for the ground lease of billboard
space on Centre 75 to East West Media for $238,500.
• Approved amendments to the following funds: County General,
Public Libraries, Recycling Centers, County Drug, Highway
Department, General Purpose School, School Federal Projects,
School Cafeteria and General Projects Capital.