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.

Spencer, Tn., Man Charged With Criminal Homicide In Stabbing Death

A joint investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and several other law enforcement agencies has resulted in the early morning arrest of a Spencer, Tn., man charged with criminal homicide.   At the request of 31 st District Attorney General Lisa Zavogiannis, TBI Special Agents joined investigators with the District Attorney’s office ... (click for more)

Nashville Man Charged With Trying To Hire Someone To Kill His Wife

An investigation by special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has resulted in the arrest of a Davidson County man, who is charged with trying to get someone to kill his wife.  At the request of 20th District Attorney General Glenn Funk, TBI special agents began investigating Gary Alan Montgomery on May 2, after receiving information that Montgomery was looking ... (click for more)

The History Of Avondale Recreation Center

I grew up in Avondale from third grade until I was married and two children. East Chattanooga had a center since before I was born. The only time I was gone was when I, along with six buddies, joined the USMC.   The families in Avondale, a working class neighborhood, wanted a community center closer to home so the Avondale Civic League took on the task. They raised the money ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Bad Ideas Never Work

When the Chattanooga City Council gave Kevin Muhammad, who is purportedly the “leader” of the Nation of Islam’s “Chattanooga chapter” or whatever it is, “the right” to speak for 20 anguished minutes on Monday night, everybody who heard about it could have told our city leaders it was “stinkin’ thinkin’.” My goodness, did you think he was going to read a sweet passage from the ... (click for more)

Mustangs Clip Raiders, 4-3, On Chambers' Clutch RBI Hit In 10th

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Winning two regular season games against Cleveland was no picnic for the Walker Valley Mustangs. Capturing a win-or-go-home District 5-3A tournament showdown with the Blue Raiders was even tougher to nail down for coach Joe Shamblin’s squad. Bunts by Jacob McCall and Hunter Shamblin set the stage for Jacob Chambers’ walk-off RBI single in the 10 th ... (click for more)

East Ridge And CFCA Reach New Contract

The city of East Ridge and the Chattanooga Futbol Club Academy (CFCA) have agreed to a new five-year soccer field-use agreement for five fields at Camp Jordan Park. The agreement allows CFCA to practice at Camp Jordan Park and play games there on fields 1-5. The East Ridge Futbol Club (ERFC) plays recreation soccer on fields 6-8 and often works with CFCA to use field 5 on Saturday ... (click for more)