JASPER, Tenn. — In an effort to promote growth and benefit residents of South Pittsburg Mountain, Marion County leaders have opted to donate a parcel of land on the delinquent tax sale list to the city of South Pittsburg.
At the Marion County Commission's November meeting, County Mayor David Jackson said the property is located along Orme Mountain Road at the intersection of Mountain Water Tank Road.
"We've had a couple of people want to bid on this property," he told the board. "State law allows the county mayor to pull this out of sale, which I did, because the city of South Pittsburg — their water company — had use for this property to build a new water tank."
Getting the property means the South Pittsburg utility can leave the old water tank in service while it builds a new one, preventing a lengthy service disruption.
"South Pittsburg water goes out to the mountaintop, which is all county people," Jackson said. "Their service on top of the mountain is out in the county. There's none out in the city."
Commission Chairman David Abbott said a new water tank could also spur new home construction on the mountain.
Jackson said $2,833.49 in overdue taxes is owed on the property.
County Attorney Billy Gouger said the board's tax committee recommended donating the property to South Pittsburg.
"The $2,800 amount would be waived," he said.
Commissioner Steven Franklin asked why county leaders would waive the overdue tax money.
"It was just serving the citizens of the whole county," Commissioner Joey Blevins said. "It was voted. That's what the majority voted [in committee]. It was a benefit to the citizens of the county."
The board voted unanimously to approve the committee's recommendation.
In other business, the board took action to finalize an agreement between the county and Jasper to split the tax revenue from a new Speedway gas station at Interstate 24's exit 158 for the next 15 years.
Jasper annexed the property Nov. 12. Gouger said the tax split requires an interlocal agreement between the county and the town of Jasper.
The division takes place after a 50 percent appropriation to the Marion school system, which is state law, he said, and does not include a portion of the sales tax that was approved in a 2006 referendum that's used to pay a school bond.
"It's not cutting any of that revenue that's currently going to the school system," Gouger said.
The board voted unanimously to approve the interlocal agreement.
Jackson said Jasper leaders have agreed to its terms, too, but the Jasper Board of Mayor and Aldermen hasn't voted on the the matter yet.
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.