November 9, 2020
Darren Doyle, story:
Magistrates voted to pay for damages to a Chalybeate subdivision entrance sign that the owner says occurred as a result of recent work completed by the county road department.
The sign in question is at the entrance of Springview Subdivision in Chalybeate, and is made up of two brick walls and columns on either side of the roadway. The sign is owned by Carlton Alexander. Judge Executive Wil Cannon told the Edmonson Voice at today's fiscal court meeting that road crews did some repair work to the ditch and culvert area near the sign and he discussed the reason for the vote.
"When the job was finished, there was about 6 inches or so of rock piled up against the culvert, and the argument from Mr. Alexander was that this caused water to hold up in the ditch, which caused the sign to sink, and it sunk several inches," Judge Cannon said. "He feels like the county caused the damage to that sign. The county feels like, and it's in Mark's (Meeks) district, and Mark feels like that rather than go through litigation on the matter to find out percentages of damages, or to find out if there was any at all, then it would be best probably to just go ahead and negotiate with Carlton if he'll sign a release that we're no longer responsible, in any way, for that wall."
Cannon said that it was basically settling out of court. He also said the county felt that it was a possibility that the water issue could've caused the sign to sink but he felt like the sign was sinking anyway; however, he said magistrates have discretion on these matters.
"This is what was decided and I'll back the magistrates up on these kinds of things," he added.
Magistrates voted to approve a resolution to pay Mr. Alexander the amount of $7,528.75, contingent on Mr. Alexander signing documentation that releases the county of further liability on the sign.
Future County Animal Shelter Property Update:
County Attorney Greg Vincent asked for clarification regarding a crop lease agreement, of which he was just made aware, on the newly purchased property from Rollin Rountree.
Judge Cannon said there was a verbal agreement in place between Rountree and some local farmers for 5-6 acres of soybeans on the property for $500 per year; however, County Attorney Vincent said the original agreement to sell the property to the county was made in 2019 and that if the county had taken possession of it in June of 2020 as originally planned, the county would've been bound by the farm lease agreement and wouldn't have been able to make any improvements to that portion of the property, as a result of the lease.
Cannon said the area currently being farmed would not have had improvements anyway; therefore that issue didn't seem relevant at the time, and that since Mr. Rountree still had ownership of the property at that time, Cannon saw no reason to act otherwise.
County Attorney Vincent said that the seller would have been in violation of the agreement because he would have been turning over property without a clear title and an in-place lease agreement with another party. The agreement signed by the county and the seller stated the property would be free and clear. After several minutes of discussion on different scenarios that could have been, Vincent described it as "an indication of the extreme bad faith that we were dealing with," on the part of the seller.
Vincent also said that neither he nor the company conducting the title opinion were made aware of such an agreement. The conversation ended with a basic, "all is well that ends well," as the county has the option of continuing the lease with farmers next year if magistrates so choose; however, Vincent's point was that as the county attorney, these are the types of issues he can help handle, but only if he's made aware. The property is a 12 acre tract, half of which is currently being cropped.
Road Report: County Road Supervisor Greg Carroll said that work had been completed in various areas around the county including ditching, patching, paving, and installation of tiles. He also reported that the county's paving machinery is in need of replacement and is expected to cost between $75K-$150K. Carroll said he didn't think the machine would last until the spring. The court agreed to look at the road budget for possibilities for a replacement.
Sheriff Report: Sheriff Shane Doyle said his office was recently approved for a state grant that allows for traffic patrol overtime costs. As a result, deputies have focused on the lake area and around the Ollie community, where they recently held a traffic checkpoint where there were several drug and alcohol-related arrests. He also discussed the early portions of the county tax collection, which was down slightly as of now, but he's looking for taxpayers to use more mail, online, and drop box payment options vs. in-person payment.
County Clerk Report: County Clerk Kevin Alexander updated the court on the recent election where the county saw a 63% voter turnout. He said 18% voted by mail, 54% voted early in-person, 28% voted in-person on Election Day. He thanked a number of folks that helped to make local voting a success, much like he announced to the Edmonson Voice on Friday.
The next fiscal court meeting was announced for November 23rd at 9AM.