Bradley County Commission Hears Issues On Taxing Private Roads

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - by Tonya Brantley
County Attorney Crystal Freiberg addressed the Bradley County Commission Monday afternoon regarding taxing private roads in Bradley County. She explained how the process currently works in order to outline problems many homeowners are having.
 
She said, “Private roads are allowed under current subdivision regulations in two different ways. If there are six or less lots, one is allowed to develop a private road to a lesser standard than if one has six or more lots.
Those with six or fewer lots can be gravel roads, the majority of which are in the county. If it is six or more it has to be developed the same as a county road would be. They have been allowed for a long time. The justification I have for them is if someone has a large tract of land and wants to give ten acres to each family member, you would have to give them a private road to access their property if they were landlocked in some way.”
 
“When platted, the private road is maintained by the lot owners who join it. How it works currently, the county planner will accept the plat then recommend it, then it goes to the planning commission and they will approve it, then it goes to the assessor of property office for assessment purposes and it will be taxed completely separate from the lots that adjoin it and use it.”
 
One of the problems is due to limitations of the assessment software. Typically speaking, it will be in the name of the developer and as long as the developer pays the taxes everything is fine. Sometimes it gets moved into homeowners name and sometimes it doesn’t. If it does, it goes into the homeowner’s name whose property has been touching the road longest. However, that is the only person whose name it’s in for tax purposes. It is usually a minimal tax amount.
 
That information is sent to the trustee’s office for the tax bill. Because it is in one person’s name the bill only goes to that one person. The rest of the homeowners that touch the road do not get a notice. April 1 each year the delinquent tax list is made. If a private road is on that list, a title search is done and notices are sent to the people who have use or an ownership interest in the private road. Many people up to this point often never knew they had an ownership interest in the road.
 
She went on to explain, “Some roads are ready to be sold in a tax sale. At that point, technically legally speaking, we can sell the road. However, there are some people concerned about the fairness of that. So, most of the issues are from a tax purpose standpoint. The assessor’s office is unable to send notices to everybody with their current software. Another problem is if I am a land owner and I do know that I have taxes on a private road with six landowners, I can’t just pay my 1/6 share of the payment. If one of the other owners doesn’t pay, it still gets turned over for delinquent taxes unless the entire amount is paid.”
 
“Also, the county is not responsible for upkeep or repair of a private road. Often times the homeowner doesn’t know they have this obligation, so the road falls into disrepair. Roads that are developed to sub-county standards, for example gravel roads, can never be county roads unless they are completely redone.”
 
Commissioner Ed Elkins recommended referring the private road situation to the Delinquent Tax Committee in order to try to resolve the problems, recommend options and bring a proper resolution to the commission.
 
In other business, Chairman Louie Alford appointed members to the Lake Forest Study Ad Hoc Committee. Members include: Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis, Chairman Louie Alford, Chairman of Finance Committee Ed Elkins, Chairman of Education Committee Adam Lowe, Director Bradley County Schools Johnny McDaniel, Chairman Bradley County School Board Charlie Rose, Chairman Bradley County School Board Capital Projects Committee Chris Turner, Ex Officio Lynn Burns and Ex Officio Rick Smith.
 
The Bradley County Commission will hold its next voting session meeting on Monday at noon.

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report for Hamilton County: ALFADO, JOSE  CHATTANOOGA, 37402  Age at Arrest: 23 years old Arresting Agency: Red Bank AGGRAVATED ASSAULT --- AUSTIN, SHEILA MARIE  5212 DONLYN LANE APT B HIXSON, 373434555  Age at Arrest: 39 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DOMESTIC ASSAULT --- BERRY, KAYLA NICOLE  ... (click for more)

County Commission Passes Resolution That Will Put Commissioner On CVB Board; Have Visitors Bureau Follow County Purchasing, Travel, Expense Policies

The County Commission voted 6-3 on Wednesday to approve a resolution that will put a member of the commission on the board of the Chattanooga Visitors Bureau. It will also require the CVB to follow county purchasing, travel and expense policies. The measure requires that the agency annually submit copies of all financial documents and records relating to its income and expense. ... (click for more)

Tom Edd Wilson Was A Great Visionary

We want to add to the many heart-felt messages that have been expressed regarding the recent passing of Tom Edd Wilson, a truly great visionary.    While he made his mark on many local organizations, Tom Edd will always hold a special place in the hearts of those who worked closely with him at Erlanger.   We benefited greatly from his steady guidance, leadership ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Leaders Stand ‘Way Back’

Franklin McCallie, a former principal at Howard School and the maverick in one of Chattanooga’s finest families known for education, delivered an impassioned speech before the Hamilton County Commission on Wednesday. Sadly, his remarks came after the commissioners had passed the FY2018 budget that has no financial methodology for the Department of Education, much maligned in the ... (click for more)

Rain Washes Away Tuesday Night's 2017 Southern League All-Star Game

Heavy rains from tropical storm Cindy forced the cancellation of the 2017 Southern League All-Star Game in Pensacola, Florida Tuesday night. The Lookouts were represented on the North Division squad by pitchers Fernando Romero, Mason Melotakis (though he was promoted to Rochester this week), and John Curtiss; and position players Nick Gordon, Edgar Corcino, and LaMonte Wade. ... (click for more)

PHOTOS: CFC Wins Big Over Birmingham