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Fentress Road Supervisor Drops Loan Request

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Fentress Road Supervisor Drops Loan Request

Fentress County Road Supervisor Joey Reagan dropped his $15 million loan request after discussion with county commission Tuesday night

County Finance Director Tyler Arms said that the Highway Department operates on a budget of some $3.3 million a year. He said that based on Reagan’s original request of $10 million, the yearly loan repayment would cost about one-third of that budget.

“And with the tax base that we have, you’re looking at a roughly 20 percent increase in your property tax to be able to fund that,” Arms said. “So that’s looking at a 31 cent to 35 cent property tax increase. Which clearly as you can see tonight nobody wants to increase property tax to see a road paved.”

Arms said he didn’t believe that any of the county’s funds could handle that type of loan payment. He said that with any capital outlay note the county does also has to be approved by the Comptroller’s office. Arms said that in looking at that type of money and the type of revenue the department brings in, he doesn’t foresee approval.

“I know that the highway department is very limited on the amount that they can generate and they’re very limited on the amount of resources they have for money that can come in,” Arms said. “But $10 million is a huge chunk. I mean it’s not like you’re going to spend that $10 million to generate more revenue in an enterprise fund or something that’s going to help to pay that back. I know our citizens deserve and want to see these roads taken care of, but you know at the rate you’re looking at almost a 20 percent tax increase because that’s roughly what it will take.”

Reagan said that he did not want to raise property taxes, but did not have immediate alternate options for how to get the roads paved. He said that he had already done about 10 miles of work with the $800,000 approved for improvements in August.

County Executive Jimmy Johnson said that there is still potentially an option with money to come down in the recently passed federal infrastructure bill. Reagan said he’s not holding out hope, and will just continue working as best he can.

In other business, county commissioners approved the 2021 redistricting plan. Administrator of Elections Joey Williams said that the county was in good shape coming into redistricting. He said that minor changes were made to even out the five districts. He said that they will remain with two commissioners each.

Williams said that those who have changed districts will receive notice and new voting cards as soon as everything is formally approved by the state.


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