In the October Commissioner report, I didn’t cover an important issue because the meeting was so late in the month and I wanted to get good coverage of the Commission meeting out to you in a timely manner. There was another issue that made little sense to me so I voted no.
The 5th Judicial Drug Task Force (FJDTF) requested use of the Children’s Home, since they wanted a larger facility. Earlier this year they asked the Commission to pay nearly double the appraised value for a piece of property to build a new facility. Thankfully the Commission didn’t make the unwise purchase. See Jim Folts’ February 2014 report for more info on the matter.
In October, the Commission was asked to approve a memorandum of understanding between the County, the Sheriff’s Department, and the FJDTF allowing the FJDTF to use to the former Children’s Home. That seemed like a reasonable request, but there was a clause in the memorandum that made no sense.
6. WHEREAS, the improvements to the property will be paid for by the FJDTF and in the event the FJDTF is removed from the property by Blount County or the property is sold by the County, the County will reimburse to the FJDTF the value of the improvements made to the property by the FJDTF and the value will be determined based on the value of the improvements at the time the payment is triggered by the removal of the FJDTF or sale of the property.
The FJDTF will be free to make any improvements it wants, using asset forfeiture money, and according to the Finance Director the Commission will have no oversight on the costs of those improvements. I made a motion to require Commission approval for improvements costing over $1,000. My motion was defeated 10 to 9. 11 votes are required for passage. Akard – yes Allen – no Archer – yes Bowers – no Carter – no Carver – yes Caskey – no Caylor – absent Cole – yes Crowe – no Daly – yes Farmer – no French – absent Headrick – yes Lewis – yes Melton – no Miller – yes Monroe – yes Moon – no Samples – no Stinnett – yes
This agreement is equivalent to having a renter sign an agreement with a landlord where the landlord collects no rent, the renter is free to do all the updates he wants and then when the renter moves out the landlord has to reimburse the renter for the improvements that he did, minus depreciation. This doesn’t pass the common sense test.
It seems to me that the Commission gave the FJDTF a blank check, even if the check won’t have to be paid for several years. By defeating my motion the Commission agreed to reimburse the FJDTF for the improvements it does to the property without any oversight. This could get expensive because the building was cited for 19 code violations. It will likely cost a considerable sum of money to fix it up to codes.
Only Commissioner Karen Miller and I voted against this nonsense. Commissioners Caylor and French were absent. Commissioner Caylor was the sponsor.