The Scott County commission has approved a resolution asking Tenn. Sen. Ken Yager and Rep. Kelly Keisling to introduce a private act for Scott County into state legislature. If approved, the act would
add a $10 fee for temporary permits for out-of-state residents and $4 for state residents to operate ATVs on county roads.
In January 2017, the state of Tennessee will start allowing certain classes of side-by-side off-highway vehicles to operate on county roads, but in order to operate legally, all off-highway vehicles must be registered by the state of Tennessee. Per the new law, off-highway vehicles have been separated into two categories: Class I, which includes most side-by-side style vehicles, and Class II which are vehicles like sand or rail buggies.
The cost to register a Class I off-highway vehicle will be $15.25 annually, while the Class II vehicles will $16.25 annually. This new figure includes the additional cost of designing and manufacturing the permits. The original amounts were $10 and $11.
Unlike the Adventure Tourism and Rural Development Act of 2011 that restricted the operation of such vehicles to roads inside specially designated areas, the new law will allow their use on any county-maintained road. Operation on federal or state highways will still be prohibited.
Out-of-state operators will be allowed to purchase a 30-day temporary permit. While the total cost of the temporary registration hasn't been disclosed, the base fee established by the statute is $4.
The resolution passed by a vote of 11-2-1. Commissioners Shelia Buttram and June Jeffers cast "no" votes, and Commissioner Sam Lyles was absent.
If the private act is approved by the legislature, the commissioners would then have to ratify the act with a two-thirds approval vote.
After much discussion, the commissioners tabled the topic of opting into the state's building codes for another month.
Tim Planer, residential building code enforcement supervisor was once again on hand to answer questions concerning the residential building codes. It was again explained that the new legislation went into effect in October 2010, and Scott County voted to opt out.
Since the county opted out of state building codes, there was no need to have inspections done, though they continued through this summer until an inspector questioned the legality of the inspections he was conducting.
Conducting those inspections in an opt-out county is actually a class B misdemeanor, according to Lee Ferguson, an attorney representing the state.
Ultimately this boils down to no one wanting to be the 'bad guy' with building codes. The state backed off their effort to make the codes applicable statewide when there was enough dissension that passage of the law was in doubt. Their compromise was to allow counties to opt out.
The commissioners don't want to be the 'bad guys' by now opting into the state program.
The underlying issue is placing additional nominal costs on homebuilders and contractors so that the county can continue receiving grants and loans that require inspections as part of the grant/loan. THDA has already indicated that it is easier for them just to not award grants to opt out counties than trying to adjust their requirements. This means that the current HOME Grant will probably be pulled if the county fails to adopt codes and there will be no future Habitat homes built.
One of the subsequent discussions was the county adopting their own codes and having their own inspectors. It was pointed out by Planer that any codes adopted by the county have to, at a minimum, be equal to the state codes.
There was also discussion of meeting with state representatives Yager and Keisling to see if there is any chance of a compromise being reached with the state on the inspection requirements.
Ferguson agreed to help arrange the meeting with state reps and the county commissioners for a future date. This is when the issue of building codes was tabled for a future vote.
In other actions, the commissioners approved the recommendation of the Parks & Recreation committee to appoint Chad Marcum to the position vacated by Stacey Kidd's resignation. They also approved a resolution requiring any proposed construction, repairs or improvements to real property owned by the county be presented to the Building & Grounds committee and then approved by the full board, regardless of projected cost. They also approved two budget amendments presented by the Budget committee.
The commissioners will meet again in committees on Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. The full meeting is Dec. 19 at 6 p.m.