published Monday, July 1st, 2013

Marion County, Tenn., commissioners extend lease for probation offices

The state leases office space for its probation department at the Marion County Justice Center.
The state leases office space for its probation department at the Marion County Justice Center.

JASPER, Tenn. — Marion County commissioners have agreed to extend a lease for probation offices at the county justice center for six months.

Such a lease typically runs for four or five years, but the state last year asked for only a one-year extension because it was re-evaluating its probation system.

"Apparently, they've not decided on any new direction to go," County Mayor John Graham said.

Commissioners voted last week to extend the lease on the 690-square-foot space until Dec. 31 at a cost to the state of a bit more than $2,700.

Commissioner Tommy Thompson said he had hoped county leaders would examine the rent charged because it's "quite a bit below the going commercial rate."

Thompson was on the board's Building Use Committee when the county entered into the last long-term lease years ago. He said the county accepted about $6 per square foot when the normal rate was about $12.

That price increased to about $8 per square foot in 2008, Thompson said, but that's "still not market value."

"I guess this is probably not the time to express that opinion," he said. "But in January or whenever we renegotiate, I think we're due a bump in that [rate] because we've been leasing that pretty cheap over there. We might want to keep that in mind."

County Attorney Billy Gouger said the terms can be revisited after Dec. 31.

"[This is] simply a term extension," he said. "It doesn't change any of the other provisions in the lease agreement."

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.

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