Parrotts Chapel Looks to Leave Jefferson County, Taking $1 Million in Revenue with Them

The Jefferson County Commission held their first work session of their senior year of their current term in office on Monday, September 11, 2017. With three years of the current term under their belt, Commission Members met on Monday to preview their agenda for next week’s voting meeting, as well as field community concerns regarding two hot topic issues in Jefferson County. Citizens from the Parrots Chapel area of Chestnut Hill continued to express their desire to become a part of Sevier County, citing proximity to the area as their reason base. The issue is one that has resurfaced after several years and substantial growth in the Parrotts Chapel community. Earlier in the year, bus ride time was a concern for the Jefferson County School System because a handful of students in the area were uncomfortably close to exceeding the mandated bus ride time limit set by the State. In answer to the time issue, Jefferson County Department of Education added an additional bus route that shaved off ride time for the students in question. During discussion at the time, it was noted that the students in question did not want to transfer to Sevier County Schools, despite the opportunity for a closer commute. During Monday’s meeting, representatives from the Parrotts Chapel Community lobbying for Jefferson County to release that portion of the County land to Sevier County stated that students in the area were interested in attending Sevier County Schools. Other concerns included response time from emergency services, sans fire department, as Parrotts Chapel has a volunteer fire department that does receive County contribution, as well as roads.

At risk, should the County Commission decide to allow the Parrotts Chapel Community to become a part of Sevier County, is around $1 million dollars in revenue from property tax and Wheel Tax. Commissioner Gaut asked representatives of the Parrotts Chapel Community if there had been any discussion of a trade with Sevier County, as it was discussed that Sevier County appears to be willing to accept the lake front property. According to representatives, no discussion has of yet included the concept of a trade of land. It was noted that state BEP funds follow the student meaning that Sevier County could allow students in the Parrotts Chapel area admission to their schools and they would receive that student’s state funding allocation without necessitating a property location change.

The County Commission has requested further information regarding cost offsets to service the Parrotts Chapel community. Another topic of concern was a recent venue for a Rodeo in the White Pine community, which residents contend is detrimental to their community. The venue did receive a permit to sell beer, following meeting the criteria set by the Jefferson County Beer Board. Residents in the area allege the venue unsafe for the community because of excessive consumption of beer, as well as being noisy. Several residents were on hand to voice their dissatisfaction with the venue and request relief.

The County Commission will address the seating of committees, as well as elect officers on Monday. They were informed that the Jefferson County Nursing Home Board has supported a name change for the facility that more closely aligns with the services provided. Jefferson Park at Dandridge was the choice of the Board. General Housekeeping items such as several surplus items will be addressed at the voting meeting. At the request of County Commissioner David Seal, Jefferson County High School Vice Principal John Cagle addressed the County Commission regarding the need for Broad ban for educational purposes. Commissioners were informed that Morristown will be paving a portion of road that will benefit Jefferson County.

Monday’s voting meeting will include the seating of the County Commission Chair, Vice Chair, and Chaplin. The meeting will be held in the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse and will begin at 6:30pm.

Source: K. Depew, News Director

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