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Putnam Confirms Opinion With Comptroller On Fairgrounds Sale

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Putnam Confirms Opinion With Comptroller On Fairgrounds Sale

A little know and seldom used rule based on Putnam County’s charter will give the county the ability to sell the fairgrounds in a private sale.

Putnam County Attorney Jeff Jones said Putnam is a Private Act County and Mayor Randy Porter is the county’s purchasing agent. That means the county can negotiate with a buyer, like a private real estate transaction instead of a usual government auction.

“It came from our CTAS representative Ben Rodgers,” Jones said. “A statement was made at one of the past county commission meetings that there are only certain ways to sell the property. So we looked at the private sale based on some stuff that Ben had brought up and determined that this was something that we could do and might be the best way to sell this property.”

Jones said that certain Tennessee counties fall under the Financial Management Acts of 1957 and 1981. Jones said those acts require counties to sell property in a certain way.

“The county mayor is the purchasing agent for the county,” Jones said. “What this does is it allows Putnam County to operate under the general law for purchasing and for selling. Now, under the general law the county commission can make a determination as to what it feels is in the best interest of the county, as far as the sale of a piece of property and this opens the door to the private sale.”

Jones said the fairgrounds no longer fall under a statute requiring a public auction or public bids. He said there are certain properties, even in Private Act Counties that do require property sales to be conducted a specific way.

“This is a piece of property that was deemed by the county commission as being surplus,” Jones said. “In other words, that the county will no longer have a use for it at some point in the future. So given that designation our county is in the position to sell it at a private sale and hopefully maximize the return on that profit to help fund the construction of the exposition center on the West end of the county.”

Jones said that given the commercial value and size of the property, he wanted to ensure all rules were being followed if a private sale was approved. Jones said the county wanted to clarify that its legal opinion would match that of the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office.

“Obviously we didn’t want to go through with a private sale and then have the Comptroller’s Office come back and indicate that this was not proper and have an audit finding as a result,” Jones said. “So we wanted to take care of that on the front end.”

Jones said he sent his legal opinion to the staff attorneys at the Comptroller’s Office and they agreed with Putnam’s assessment.


The post Putnam Confirms Opinion With Comptroller On Fairgrounds Sale appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.