Marion, Franklin counties to drop border fight

Marion, Franklin counties to drop border fight

November 30th, 2013 by Ryan Lewis in Local Regional News

JASPER, Tenn. -- It's a refrain that longtime Marion County commissioners have heard countless times.

This time, however, the tune's been rewritten enough that leaders of Marion and Franklin counties soon could be singing off the same song sheet in a nearly 20-year-old property line dispute.

The Marion County Commission voted unanimously last week to approve a new border between the two counties, but there are still a couple of hurdles to clear before the issue can be settled.

County Mayor John Graham said Franklin's board will have to endorse it as well.

Franklin administrators do not have a scheduled meeting in December, he said, but Franklin County Mayor Richard Stewart indicated they would have one just on this issue and the border would be approved

"If that does happen, in January, when the [state] Legislature gets back in session, we'll get one of our representatives to approach the Legislature on it," Graham said.

Officials said the agreed-upon line is the same one both county tax assessors have been using for years.

The line includes two subdivisions on the Marion side that already are registered in that county.

"That was an area of controversy or discussion, I guess you might say," Graham said.

He quoted Marion Assessor of Property Judy Brewer as saying the new line will be "a positive revenue position" for the county.

"I think that this will put to rest an issue that has been in front of this commission for decades," Graham said. "It will also clear up any jurisdiction for emergency services, court systems and all those types of things."

Commissioner Tommy Thompson said he can't remember how many times he's heard discussions about the border controversy since he has been on the board.

"It seems like every time we think we've got this thing put to bed, they get a new mayor in Franklin County and get a burr under their saddle and want to bring this issue back up," he said.

Commissioner Donald Blansett, who made the motion to accept the new property line, asked for additional language in the resolution saying that if the board agreed to the proposed line, the issue can never be brought up again.

"I'll say it this way," County Attorney Billy Gouger said. "You can put that language in there."

"I'm not saying it will stand up in court," Blansett said.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryan lewis34@gmail.com.