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Middle School "Blue" Added to Property Tax Notices

September 27, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Trustee Sean Driver with New Middle School "Blue" Property Tax Notice

DeKalb County property owners will soon be receiving their tax notices for the year 2016 and while the format will be the same as last year, the color will be DeKalb Middle School Blue instead of DCHS Black and Gold.

“You will see a new color this year as we go from black and gold in 2015 to Middle School ‘Blue’ in 2016. I will change to a different color each tax year using a color from a different school. So, as you receive 2016 bill, which again will be on an 81/2” X 11” sheet of paper front and back, you will see the blue color representing our DeKalb County Middle School,” said Trustee Sean Driver.

The 2016 property tax bills will have basically the same information as 2015, but this year they will show some number changes in appraisals values and an added option for payment.

Taxes are due and payable on October 3, 2016 through February 28, 2017 without penalties. The Trustee’s office offers several options to pay your property tax bill for 2016 including a new alternative.

*You may come into the office to pay.

*You may mail in your payment.

*You may pay online by visiting www.tennesseetrustee.com and selecting “DeKalb”. Remember, the vendor accepts Discover, MasterCard, Visa, or American Express and the vendor convenience fee is 2.75% applied on the total tax bill. Fees are subject to change for using credit/debit cards.

*You may pay by e-check in any amount but a $2.75 fee will be assessed.

* New for 2016 is a QR Code (Quick Response Code) that will be accessible to use which will link to www.tennesseetrustee.com

“Remember we do have a dropbox located on the outside of the building at the County Complex (County Offices Section) for your convenience after hours or on weekends and we also offer and accept partial payments in which you, the taxpayer, sets the amount to pay," said Trustee Driver.

Eligible taxpayers may also qualify for the Tennessee State Tax Relief Program.

This program was implemented in 1973 and changes somewhat every year. For the 2016 tax year, you may qualify for Tax Relief if:

*Your DeKalb County home is your primary residence

*You are 65 years old (or older) as of December 31, 2016

*You are totally and permanently disabled as rated by the Social Security Administration or another qualifying agency.

*Your 2015 annual income of all persons on the deed and their spouses did not exceed $29,180.00. If the State of Tennessee qualifies you for Tax Relief, then you can receive a rebate up to $108.00.

“Also, new for the 2016 Tax Relief is the requirements for Disabled Veterans and the surviving spouses of a disabled veteran. In 2015, the state required new applicants as a disabled veteran to report his or her annual income. In 2016, new disabled veteran applicants will no longer have to report his or her annual income. You must have proof from the Veteran’s Administration that you have a 100% service-connected disability. If the State of Tennessee qualifies you as a disabled veteran or the surviving spouse of a disabled veteran, then you can receive a rebate up to $458.00. The office will start accepting applications for the Tax Relief Program on October 3, 2016 through April 5, 2017. If you would like to inquire more about a possible tax relief, come by the County Complex in the Trustee’s office at 732 S. Congress Blvd-Room 103, Smithville, TN 37166 or call us at 615-597-5176,” said Trustee Driver.

Site Prep Soon to Begin for Proposed Four Seasons Community Fire Hall

September 27, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

The county is taking the next step toward the eventual development of a fire hall in the Four Seasons Community.

During Monday night’s meeting, the county commission voted to begin site preparation. “We have some site work that needs to be done. There’s a building or barn on the property and a small pond. I think its time to start doing some work in clearing the property,” said County Mayor Tim Stribling.

Fifth District Commissioner Anita Puckett said she would like to have a community meeting to get the public’s input on the plans. “ County Fire Chief Donny Green and I are going to try to set up a community meeting, maybe at the Bright Hill Methodist Church, and see what the community wants, whether it be strictly a fire hall or a community center/fire hall and to see if people in the community would want to help build this to be more invested in it,” said Puckett.

“There are some people in the community who have expressed an interest in doing some sweat equity in helping out with what needs to be done,” said County Mayor Stribling.

Two years ago the county commission voted to acquire property, a little more than an acre in size, near the intersection of Four Seasons Road and Young Green Road for the future home of the fire station. Last year the county commission set aside $25,000 as seed money and $50,000 was included in this year’s budget for a total of $75,000 toward the project.

County Considers Selling Cherry Hill Community Center Building

September 27, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Cherry Hill Community Center

Since the election commission closed the Cherry Hill precinct some members of the county commission have expressed an interest in selling the building.

The community apparently rarely uses it anymore and the building needs repairs. Although the county owns it, federal funds were used to build it some forty years ago and county attorney Hilton Conger wants to make sure there are no strings attached before the county takes any action to sell it.

“I would recommend that we get a definitive answer. It was built with federal money. My understanding is that it came with no strings attached but I would just like to have some definitive answer from Congress or whoever has to tell us. If there is still something out there (stipulations) that Congressman Diane Black can shed some light on I would respectfully ask the commission to wait on making a decision about selling the building until we have something that says we can do that,” said Conger during Monday night’s county commission meeting.

County Mayor Tim Stribling said he has been in contact with a representative of Congressman Black’s Office about this issue. “I talked again Friday with Mike Detwiler, field representative for Diane Black. He said he is checking with Washington. I don’t see any reason why we can’t (sell the building). It belongs to the county but I had rather get a clarification,” he said.

Stribling said he hopes to have an answer from Congressman Black’s Office by next month’s county commission meeting.

Woodbury Man Indicted in Death of his Brother

September 27, 2016
Chad Young

An investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has resulted in the arrest of a Cannon County man for the July murder of his brother.

At the request of 16th District Attorney General Jennings Jones, TBI Special Agents, with the assistance of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Cannon County Sheriff’s Office, began investigating the July 10th death of 38-year-old Carl “Floyd” Young. During the course of the investigation, Agents developed information that on that day, Carl had been involved in a verbal and physical altercation with his brother Chad on Gunter Hollow Road in Woodbury. The investigation revealed that during that altercation, Chad fired a handgun at his brother while Carl was driving. The bullet struck Carl, killing him, and his vehicle wrecked in a field.

On Friday, the Cannon County Grand Jury returned indictments charging Chad Young, 32, with one count of Second Degree Murder and two counts of Tampering with Evidence. Young was arrested Friday afternoon and booked into the Cannon County Jail, where he is being held on a $250,000 bond.

One Ejected in Early Morning Crash

September 27, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
26 year old Isidro Reyes of McMinnville Ejected After Crashing into Tree on Banks Pisgah Road (Photo by WJLE-Dwayne Page)
Trooper Bobby Johnson Investigates One Vehicle Crash Tuesday morning on Banks Pisgah Road (Dwayne Page-WJLE Photo)

One man was seriously injured after being ejected in a one vehicle crash this morning (Tuesday) on Banks Pisgah Road. Two others who were passengers with him were not hurt.

Central dispatch received the call at 2:32 a.m.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 26 year old Isidro Reyes of McMinnville was traveling south in a 2001 Kia Sportage when he failed to negotiate a curve, ran off the left side of the road, and struck a large tree. Reyes was ejected onto the road way.

32 year old Brandon Colwell and 34 year old Lisa Lambert both of McMinnville were passengers.

Reyes was transported by DeKalb EMS to St Thomas DeKalb Hospital.

According to Trooper Johnson, alcohol was a factor in the crash and charges are pending against Reyes.

Members of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department and DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene.

Harville Charged with Assaulting Her Mother

September 26, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Crystal Michelle Harville
Jeffrey Miller
Patrick Jarome O’Conner
Shawn Earl Edwards

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department recently arrested a woman for allegedly assaulting her mother.

34 year old Crystal Michelle Harville of Brown Ridge Road, Baxter is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $3,000 and her court date is October 13. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, September 5 a deputy was called to a residence on Ponder Road. Upon arrival, he spoke to Harville’s mother who said that she (Harville) got upset over her (mother) not giving her (Harville) money. She claims Harville then assaulted her by pulling her hair, slapping her face, and hitting her on the chest leaving red marks. Harville was determined to have been the primary aggressor.

41 year old Jeffrey Miller of Jefferson Road, Smithville is charged with filing a false report. His bond is $5,000 and his court date is October 6. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, September 9 Miller initiated a report with the Sheriff’s Department claiming that while traveling in his silver Cadillac sedan on Highway 56 south his female passenger pulled a handgun from her purse and pointed it at him. Miller said he jumped out of the car at Whorton Springs Church and watched as the woman drove off in his car toward town. The vehicle was later found at another church south of Whorton Springs. When questioned by officers, Miller admitted that he had fabricated the story because he did not want to go through civil court.

53 year old Patrick Jarome O’Conner of Nashville Highway, Alexandria is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is October 27. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, September 24 a deputy was dispatched to Lower Helton Road due to a vehicle accident. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with O’Conner and found him to have an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. He admitted to having consumed four beers prior to driving. O’Conner performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He also submitted to a blood test. O’Conner was placed under arrest.

24 year old Shawn Earl Edwards of Oak Glenn Drive, Smithville is charged with resist stop, frisk, halt, arrest, or search. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is October 27. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, September 25 a deputy was called to a residence on Holmes Creek Road due to a possible domestic. Upon arrival, the officer spotted Edwards running through the weeds. The officer ordered him to stop but he jumped a fence and kept running. After he tripped, Edwards was taken into custody by the deputy.

39 year old Marina G. Cornett of Miller Road, Smithville is cited for possession of drug paraphernalia and simple possession of a schedule IV drug (Xanax). Cornett’s court date is October 6. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, September 12 a detective conducted a probation search at Cornett’s residence and found several pipes, grinders, and bongs along with an Alprazolam (one milligram) pill.

54 year old Jackie Mark Mullican of Miller Road, Smithville is cited for possession of a schedule IV drug (Xanax). Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, September 12 a detective found six blue oval pills on Mullican’s person while conducting a probation search.

50 year old Timothy Ross Stoglin of Forrest Avenue, Smithville is cited for possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of 0.3 grams of methamphetamine. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, September 19 officers conducted a parole search of Stoglin and found 0.3 grams of meth along with several pipes in his vehicle. He will make a court appearance on October 6.

Habitat Chili Cook-Off and Bake Sale Set for October 28

September 26, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
13th Annual Habitat Chili Cook-Off and Bake Sale Set for October 28

It’ll soon be chili time and time for you to again support a great cause and decide who makes the best chili in DeKalb County! Come out and cast your vote on Friday, October 28 on the Courthouse Square when Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County hosts its 13th Annual Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale.

Chili will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the north side of the Courthouse on the Smithville Town Square. In case of rain, the Chili Cook-off will be held at the County Complex.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW RULES)

2016 Chili flyer and form FINAL.pdf (813.03 KB)

Make a donation to Habitat and eat all the chili you want from all the teams and vote for your favorite. Enjoy delicious baked goods too! Volunteers needed to provide baked goods. Take out available.

All proceeds will go to Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization.

Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates houses in partnership with volunteers and families in need, regardless of their ethnic or religious background. The houses then are sold to those in need at no profit and with no interest charged.

For more information on the Chili Cook-off and Bake Sale, contact Tecia Puckett Pryor at 615- 597-7370.

Sheriff's Department Receives Certificate of Appreciation

September 26, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jail Sergeant Anthony Boyd, Probation and Parole Officer Sherilyn Walls, Sheriff Patrick Ray, and Probation and Parole Officer Don Fox

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department recently received a Certificate of Appreciation for its close association with the Board of Probation and Parole and for providing its officers a place at the jail for their meetings.

The plaque reads:

"Certificate of Appreciation

This certificate is awarded to the Administrator and staff of the DeKalb County Jail.

In recognition of valuable contributions to the Board of Parole Hearing Staff and the Hearing Process.”

Presenting the plaque (picture) is Probation and Parole Officers Don Fox, Sherilyn Walls, (not pictured Sherry Delaney) to Jail Sergeant Anthony Boyd and Sheriff Patrick Ray

DeKalb Jobless Rate Dips to 5.8% in August

September 25, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County’s Jobless Rate for August was 5.8%, down from 5.9% in July but well below the rate of 6.7% in August, 2015.

The local labor force for August was 7,700. A total of 7,250 were employed and 450 were without work.
Jobless rates for August among the fourteen counties in the Upper Cumberland region were as follows from highest to lowest:

Jackson:7.4%
Clay: 6.4%
Fentress: 6%
Cumberland:5.9%
Van Buren: 5.8%
Pickett:5.8%
DeKalb: 5.8%
Overton: 5.6%
White:5.4%
Putnam: 5.3%
Cannon:4.9%
Warren: 4.8%
Smith: 4.6%
Macon:4.5%

County unemployment rates for August 2016 show the rates decreased in 26 counties, increased in 58, and remained the same in 11 counties.

For the month of August, Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate at 3.8 percent, increasing from 3.6 percent the previous month. Knox County was 4.3 percent in August, increasing from 4.2 percent the previous month. The Hamilton County rate was 5.0 percent, increasing from 4.9 the previous month. Shelby County was 5.7 percent, up from 5.6 percent the previous month.

The state and national unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted, while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

Smithville Electric System Issues Statement About Substation Project

September 25, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
An example of how the substation is expected to look from the outside

Smithville Electric System has issued a written statement on its plans and reasons for building a new substation on South College Street.

Last Monday, the Smithville Board of Mayor and Aldermen gave their blessing for the project by voting 3-1 to overturn a decision by the Smithville Planning Commission to disapprove SES’s plans for the substation at the proposed location.

The statement, signed by Interim Manager Richie Knowles of Smithville Electric System, is as follows:

“Smithville Electric System has been a vital part of the City of Smithville since 1969. The City of Smithville issued Utility Service Bonds to purchase the electric system from McMinnville Electric and formed Smithville Electric System. The city appointed an electric utility board to rule and govern entirely over the Electric Department. Being an entity of the city, however, a separate organization with its own power board to make executive decisions for the utility. The sole existence of Smithville Electric System is to provide safe, reliable electricity at the lowest possible cost to the citizens of Smithville. That has been our goal from the beginning and we will continue to improve the system for the betterment of the city”.

“Smithville Electric System only has one substation to provide power to the city of Smithville. That makes us vulnerable to city wide outages due to weather and also when an upgrade is needed. We began upgrading the current substation located on West Main Street approximately 3 years ago. Anytime you are replacing substation equipment, you have to take an outage to be able to safely do the work needed. In our case, this means a city wide power outage, because we do not have an alternate source for electricity. This is part of the reason for the need of a second substation. Taking a city wide outage is very expensive for everyone involved. A planned outage cost our industries alone approximately $200,000.00 an hour. The cost goes up drastically after the first and second hour. Most of our industries are on just in time delivery, which means if they don’t get the product delivered on time, they are penalized severely. When planning the upgrade for the West Main Street Substation, we knew that we would have to take 3-4, possibly 5 city wide power outages. We took the first two to begin the process and then discovered that one of the outages had to be 6-7 hours long. That is when we decided that we could not do this to our citizens and our industries. It would cost our industry more than two million dollars total. Our goal is to help bring industries to our town not to drive them away. We decided the only way to avoid this expense was to go ahead and build the second substation that we had been talking about for 15 years or longer”.

“We contacted TVA and asked them if they would approve a second substation for Smithville. You don’t just build a substation without a need or approval from TVA. TVA approved the second substation for reliability purposes. We then actively began to search for a piece of property that would meet the requirements for our substation. The second substation needed to be as far away as possible from the West Main Street substation. If a tornado comes through town and damaged one place maybe the other would be ok and we would be able to continue providing power to the city. So location was the big factor. The land needed to be as close to a TVA transmission line as possible. If you have to run transmission lines across property lines, it takes forever and is very costly. Last but not least, the position of the substation had to be the least obtrusive to the neighborhood. With these three things in mind, we narrowed the search for property down to three sites. We asked TVA to send their engineers to evaluate the property and see which one would be the best location. TVA and our engineers both agreed that the property located at 1233 South College Street was the ideal location. The property was located directly under the TVA transmission lines. We could also put the substation toward the rear of the property instead of out on the street in direct view of the surrounding houses. The property was on the side of the street which allows us to connect the power back to the entire city. There is a line of trees on the South and West side and some trees on the North side of the property which would mostly hide the substation from the view of the neighbors. In TVA’s opinion and ours this property was the ideal location for the least impact to the neighborhood”.

“We signed an agreement on the property in June of 2015, stating that we would purchase the property upon approval from the city for the use of a substation. The mayor contacted the city planner and he told them that substations are allowed in any zoning areas of the city and that the site was approved for a substation. The city informed us that we could use the property for a substation and we could get started on the project. We then purchased the property and began the design of the substation. We were told that we did not need to go before the planning commission because substations are allowed in all zonings. We submitted our plans to TDEC and began clearing the property in the fall of 2015 to allow us to put the substation as far away from the public view as possible. Later the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) informed us that there was a wetland and we had to go through the delineation process. We followed TDEC’s suggestion and moved the substation forward out of the wetland. We had to agree to replenish the wetland this fall with native trees to the location. We met all of TDEC’s requirements and they gave us the permit to proceed”.

“So with the city’s permission and TDEC’s approval we proceeded with the project. We took bids on the equipment needed and signed almost two million dollars in purchase orders. In January of 2016, well after the project began, we were made aware that 3 of the neighbors had decided they didn’t want the substation there and began voicing their disapproval. We were then told that there was a statute that required utilities to take improvements before the planning commission. We took our plans to the planning commission and Attorney Sarah Cripps told them that Mr. (Joe) Rice, Mr. (W.C) Braswell and Mr. and Mrs. (Gordon) Murphy would be impacted by this location. The planning commission asked if they had done any studies to see what the value of the proposed damages would be and she said that they had not. A motion was made to reject the plans. City attorney, Vester Parsley told the planning commission that if they voted to reject the plans that the Smithville Electric Power board could vote to override their decision since the power board was the sole governing body of the utility. The planning commission then voted to reject the plans based on they did not have enough information, knowing that the decision would go back to the Smithville Electric Power board to decide. City planner Tommy Lee agreed with Attorney Parsley”.

“Our board took a vote to continue with the construction since we had already committed to almost two million dollars in expense”.

“We were only doing what we had been advised by the city to do. Attorney Cripps filed a suit saying our board did not have the authority to override the planning commission’s decision. The judge agreed; he stated that we had to go before the city board of Mayor and Aldermen for approval for the site. He also stated that we did not have to stop construction. The opposition to the substation had already voiced their opinions at a planning meeting and in court. They had had almost a year to make their disapproval known to the alderman. On Monday September 19th, 2016 the city called a special meeting to vote on the use of the property. Most of the Aldermen had already done their homework and knew that Smithville Electric had only proceeded with this project with prior approval from the city officials. If they voted no, they would be voting against what the city planner, mayor and city lawyer had already advised us to do. Some people have disagreed with the Mayor’s decision not to let the crowd speak at the special called meeting, but they have been opposing this for quite some time and their voice was heard by all. The Aldermen voted 3-1 to override the planning commission’s decision and allow us to build the substation at the proposed site. This was a vote for the future of our city. The Aldermen understand their job that they were elected to do. They have to make the best decisions for the entire city, not just a few individuals, even though sometimes it is not the popular thing to do. Some of the Aldermen had already asked for the facts for the entire process and cast their votes based on the facts, not the rumors”.

“The board and the employees of Smithville Electric System are proud of the service that we provide to the citizens and the city of Smithville. It is never our intent to cause anyone harm in anything that we do. We exist today to provide the best possible service to our city at the lowest possible price. We will continue to serve all of our customers with the same dedication and conviction that we have had since 1969. We appreciate everyone’s understanding and support as we continue to provide safe and reliable electricity to our customers”.

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