HUNTSVILLE — Scott County Commission last week formally established the procedures for filling a vacancy in the county’s assessor of property office.
Commissioners approved the standard procedures during their January regular session, and will appoint a new assessor of property at their February session, which is set for Feb. 16.
The vacancy in the assessor’s office was created by the death of Anthony “Tony” Sexton last month. Sexton had just begun his second term in office, after being re-elected without opposition in August 2020.
An appointment to the office will require a simply majority vote of the 14-member county legislative body on Feb. 6. Candidates have until Thursday, Feb. 11, to declare their candidacy for the office by filling out the appropriate paperwork at the office of Scott County Mayor Jeff Tibbals. Candidates will also be asked to submit a resume to the mayor.
The procedures were adopted by County Commission after a motion by 4th District Commissioner Kenny Chadwell, a second by 2nd District Commissioner Jerried Jeffers, and an all-aye vote.
Applicants will likely be considered during a virtual meeting of County Commission. While Gov. Bill Lee’s latest executive order opened the door for the county legislative body to return to in-person meetings, the consensus of commissioners at last week’s virtual meeting was to continue meeting virtually through at least February.
Tibbals opened the possibility of having the commission physically meet in February due to the assessor of property vacancy being on the agenda. However, only Jeffers was vocally in favor of that proposal, while Chadwell and 2nd District Commissioner Sam Lyles stated a preference to continue with virtual meetings. Chadwell said that an in-person meeting in February could lead to a crowded conference room at the Scott County Office Building, due to people showing up to support their candidate of choice for the office vacancy.
The decision for the commission to meet virtually in February means that the applicants for the assessor of property position will join the meeting via Zoom videoconferencing technology for potential question-and-answer sessions with commissioners.
Improvements to DHS/DCS building
Scott County will move forward with improvements to the county-owned building that is leased by the TN Dept. of Human Services in downtown Huntsville, following a recommendation by Tibbals.
At a cost of $38,000, the county will make changes to the building that were requested by DHS. In return, the state agency will increase its rent payments to Scott County, resulting in a net revenue gain for the county.
Tibbals explained that the “minor” project will include moving a door, putting in a wall and making some changes to the way a microwave is set up in the building. In return, DHS will increase its rent payments from $8.50 per square foot to $11 per square foot for a 3-year period, resulting in a net revenue gain to the county of $38,500 after the cost of the project is paid for.
“It’s a money-maker for us and it’ll make them happy,” Tibbals said, adding that DHS had considered terminating its lease of the building if the project wasn’t done.
Following approval by County Commission, the project will move to the bid stage.
Roofing projects approved
County Commission last week approved a bid by Dixie Roofing to re-roof both the County Office Building and the DHS/DCS building, at costs of $86,400 and $77,700, respectively.
Tibbals said the bids, collectively, were $49,100 over budget. But, he added, the projects were necessary.
“This building is getting critical,” Tibbals said of the County Office Building. The building was constructed in 1996 and its roof “is definitely at its limits,” Tibbals said.
The county’s architect inspected the roof on the DHS/DCS building and said a revised, smaller project might fix the issues there, for now, but a complete re-roofing project would be needed within three years.
“Any way you look at it, this is something that’s gonna have to be done,” Tibbals said.
Following approval by the commission — with an all-aye vote following a motion by 7th District Commissioner Mike Slaven and a second by 3rd District Commissioner Sheila Buttram — the majority of the project will be paid for using state grant funds, while the remaining $49,100 will be paid for using county funds.