Commission Raises Litigation
Cub Mountain Residents Concerned About Being
Cut Off From County
Condemn, Manslaughter, Wreck
Raises Litigation Tax
By Dewain E. Peek
The Overton County Legislative Body, in its monthly meeting held
Monday, June 21, adopted a resolution to increase the litigation
tax to the maximum amount allowed by the state. All commissioners
were present at the meeting.
The litigation tax changes are as follows: civil cases in general
sessions change from $8.25 to $23.75; criminal cases in general
sessions change from $13 to $35.50; civil cases in courts of record
change from $8.25 to $23.75; and criminal cases in courts of record
change from $15 to $29.
Overton County Executive Richard M. "Ossie" Mitchell
said, "We are having so much expense with the courts and all,
I think we ought to get the maximum."
A resolution was adopted to enact a new addressing and mapping
policy. Under the new policy, E-911 will issue electrical permits.
New houses must have a 911 address before electricity may be turned
In giving the Highway and County Property Committee report recommending
the measure, Commissioner Stanley Carter Jr. said, "All new
houses will have to have their addresses before the electricity
is turned on. This will be enforced by the electrical inspector.
All existing houses, it will be on a voluntary basis."
The Commission approved a budget amendment in the amount of $56,000
and accepted the low bid of H&C Asphalt of $56,000 to pave the convenience
centers at Livingston, Rickman, Hanging Limb, Independence, and
Hilham, and a part of the parking lot at the Senior Center in Livingston.
A resolution was adopted approving a waste tire contract with Tennessee
Tire Recyclers Inc., the tire haulers who furnish waste tires to
Signal Mountain Cement. A grinder had been visiting the recycling
center and grinding the tires up for the county to haul to a landfill,
at a cost to the county as other county waste.
Executive Mitchell said, "When you figure the tonnage, it's
cheaper to get them hauled than it is to put them in the landfill
at the rate we're paying now."
The estimated savings of the measure is $200 per load.
Executive Mitchell said further, "Another issue, by the year
2002 I think it is, the regulation says no more tires will go into
A resolution requesting the state to change the designation of
Standing Stone State Park from a rustic park to a resort park and
that an effort be made to improve the park accordingly was presented
to the Commission. Executive Mitchell said the Chamber of Commerce
requested the resolution.
"The reason behind this is economics," Executive Mitchell
The resort designation would presumably create new jobs and generate
more tax dollars from tourism and the new businesses associated
with the change to a resort park.
Commissioner Gregg Nivens pleaded with the Commission to vote against
changing the designation.
"What you've got in your rustic type are the ones that cater
to the hikers, the picnickers, the hunters, the fishermen, the bird
watchers, and the campers," Commissioner Nivens said. "When
they designate it as a resort type park, you're talking about your
tax dollars going to be funded for a golf course. I'm dead set against
Commissioner Nivens asked that the park be left as it is to preserve
its close to nature feel, less disturbed by civilization.
"What I'm talking about is quality of life," Commissioner
Nivens said. "Folks, you can't put a dollar value on quality
The resolution was adopted with an 8-7 show-of-hands vote. Voting
for the resolution were Alan Atnip, Randall Boswell, David Dorminey,
Wayne Ferrell, Frank Martin, Tom Montooth, Billie G. Phipps, and
Wayne Sells. Voting against were Johnnie Webb, Billy Sullivan, Grant
Pennington, Gregg Nivens, Stanley Carter Jr., Donnie Bull, and Gail
The Commission approved of selling the old road bed on State Highway
136 at Flatt Creek, which the county received when the new bridge
was built. The adjoining land owners will be given an opportunity
to bid, with it being sold to the highest bidder.
Year-end budget amendments were approved.
Gregg Nivens and Stanley Carter Jr. were approved to be submitted
to the Livingston mayor for placement on the Airport Authority.
Bond was approved for Dolphus Dial.
Approved as notaries at-large were Luann Hannah, Christie Sidwell
Sells, Marty Maynord, David Winningham, Kathy Winningham, and Marla
The Commission voted to suspend the rules and approve the School
Board's year-end budget amendments.
A called meeting of the Overton County Commission will be held
at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 1 at the Overton County Courthouse to consider
approval of budgets, an appropriating resolution, the first reading
of a resolution on non-profit organizations, and to set the tax
In giving the Budget and Purchasing Committee report, Commissioner
Wayne Sells said, "I think we'll probably recommend no new
The meeting adjourned.
Cub Mountain Residents
Concerned About Being Cut Off From County
By Dale Welch
Families from Crawford, Twinton, Vines Ridge, Cravenstown, and
Hanging Limb areas have felt isolated from the rest of the county
for several years. They feel even more isolated now that one of
their routes down the mountain to Livingston, via Highway 85, has
been cut off.
The state transportation department closed the highway after a
massive landslide in mid-May destroyed a section of the road at
Cub Mountain. It is thought that water had been trapped in the ground
beneath the highway and caused the ground above to slide.
Concerned mountain residents are anxious to know when, or if, the
road will be fixed.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) has been paving
three miles of the Sunk Cane road as an emergency measure to help
Overton County Road Superintendent Joe Garrett said, "TDOT
is just paving the three miles of the Sunk Cane road that hasn't
been paved before. The state is also putting a cap, or binder and
seal, from Highway 164 down at least to the cave at Three Forks."
Garrett explained that while the state is paving the Sunk Cane
road, they are not making it any wider.
Residents are concerned about a "band-aid" approach to
solving the problem. They worry that the state will use the excuse
of paving the Sunk Cane road as a reason for completely abandoning
Highway 85. They are also afraid that once the Sunk Cane road is
paved, traffic will speed up on the narrow road, increasing the
chance of an accident.
The mountain residents were upset at remarks by TDOT officials
who were quoted in the Cookeville Herald-Citizen as saying that
it is just absolutely not feasible for the state to fix the existing
Crawford resident Judy Vaughn said, "I was so angered at what
that man at TDOT said about only a few farmers used that road that
I called him in Nashville and told him what I thought."
She said the official, a TDOT district manager, admitted that he
had not been in the Cub Mountain area for several years.
Vaughn said that for the first time in her life last week, she
had to be taken to the hospital. She said she had to travel all
the way through Monterey and down the mountain to Livingston Regional
Hospital for treatment.
Overton E-911 Director Chris Masiongale said that it is taking
emergency equipment about 15 minutes longer to respond to emergencies.
For instance, he said that one ambulance run took 40 minutes traveling
through Monterey into the mountainous region.
"With Highway 85 closed, it will put a little extra responsibilities
on the Mountain First Responders ‘til we can get there.” Masiongale
said once the state gets paving the Sunk Cane road, emergency equipment
will be able to use that road.
Crawford resident Ronnie Matthews said, "A lot of people
used Highway 85 to get to Livingston. A bunch of people work in
Livingston too. Now they have to go about 22 miles out of the way
from the junction of Highway 164 and 85; all the way to drive down
Sunk Cane Road and farther to get to Livingston."
Phyllis Matthews, Ronnie' wife, said the residents had to go a
long out of their way just to go to the grocery store, drug store,
pay their taxes or register their automobiles or get to the doctor
Mrs. Matthews' sister cleans houses for a living. One house she
cleans, toward the Allred Community, used to take her 15 minutes
to reach. It now takes her 45 minutes.
State Representative John Mark Windle has talked with TDOT officials
and has written Governor Don Sundquist to try to help the mountain
Rep. Windle said TDOT officials have told him they have no plans
at this time of abandoning the road.
Rep. Windle said, "It's a state road. The state needs to fix
it. It's just that simple."
Rep. Windle and State Senator Lincoln Davis are sponsoring a public
meeting about the road situation at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 24. The
meeting is to be held at the Crawford Community Center. Rep. Windle
and Sen. Davis and others will be on hand to listen to concerns
and attempt to answer residents questions. Everyone in the mountain
communities are urged to attend.
Condemnation Suit Filed By Livingston
The Town of Livingston filed a condemnation suit in Overton County
Chancery Court on Monday, June 14 to take over electrical service
within the city limits from Upper Cumberland Electric Membership
Corporation (UCEMC). The suit also asserts that a Tennessee law
governing condemnation proceedings of cooperative-owned electricity
infrastructure is unconstitutional.
The state-mandated formula for taking over by condemnation requires
a town to pay the cooperative 25 percent of its gross revenue for
10 years and recreate electrical infrastructure.
The suit asserts that the requirement does not apply because the
statutory formula was created to deal with situations where a municipality
annexes new territory where the electrical distribution properties
to be condemned are located.
The suit also asserts that as members of the cooperative the costs
of purchasing, construction, and installing of equipment has already
been borne by the citizens of the City of Livingston and that they
should not have to pay it again.
The Town of Livingston seeks a fair market value to be set for
the electrical assets.
Randy Loftis Pleads Guilty To Lesser Charge
A Cookeville man who was charged with murder in the March 10, 1998
shooting death of Jeff Voss pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter
in Putnam County Criminal Court on Tuesday, June 15.
Randy Loftis, 36, of Cooke-ville, will serve one year in the Putnam
County Jail and five years on probation as a result of a plea agreement
to the lesser charge. A reckless endangerment charge against Loftis
for placing his wife in danger during the shooting was reportedly
dismissed as part of the plea agreement. Loftis is to begin his
jail term on July 15.
Assistant District Attorney David Patterson reportedly told Judge
Leon Burns that the plea agreement was what the Voss family wanted.
Restitution from Loftis to the Voss family is reportedly expected
in a wrongful death civil suit settlement.
The shooting occurred in the parking lot of El Tapatio in Cookeville
when Randy Loftis found his wife, Kristi Loftis, and Jeff Voss together
in Voss' vehicle. Voss was shot in the head and died a few days
Jason Street Dies Of Auto Wreck Injuries
Eighteen year-old Jason R. Street, who was injured recently in an
auto wreck on Standing Stone Highway, died Wednesday, June 16 at
The Cookeville teen was flown to Erlanger on Monday, June 7 after
the 1988 Mazda RX-7 he was a passenger in left the road and overturned,
throwing him from the car.
Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570