Lot sale 'win-win' for county, Tellico Village

Jonathan Herrmann news-herald.net

After coming to an agreement in August, lots in Tellico Village were finally included Oct. 16 as part of Loudon County’s property tax sale in what officials from the county and Tellico Village called a “win-win.”
“Overall the sale went great,” Joe Ford, who oversaw the sale for the county, said. “We sold the non-Tellico Village lots at a pretty high percentage and recovered the money we had in taxes plus some.”
There were 423 Tellico Village lots included in the sale and three were sold, leaving 420 to be returned to Tellico Village.
“That eliminated over $760,000 in tax liens that were on those lots,” Bruce Johnson, POA president, said. “... Some of them we obviously know won’t be sellable. We’re going to take on next year to try to make some green space from some of them.”
Tellico Village will pay property taxes on the lots received from the county following the sale, but Johnson believes the justification for taking on the “sizable tax load” was easy to make. “If we sold 25 out of these 420, that will be the county taxes on those forevermore,” Johnson said. “... Pretty easy right now given we’re in an economic boon.”
For the county, transferring the lots to Tellico Village is not really a loss. The county sold 40 of the 54 parcels outside Tellico Village in the sale. The total cost to buy the 420 lots inside the Village and 14 outside of the Village is $754,286.53. The county will recoup all but $160,000 spent on legal fees and advertising.
“We’ve had a problem for going on 10 years about what to do from both sides,” Ford said. “We negotiated over a long period of time, and I’m really happy with how it worked out. We’re looking forward to a good portion of those lots going back on the tax rolls, houses being built on them and getting back into the hands of private citizens, which they could not be in the status they were in — some of them for going on 10 years.”
Chip Miller, Loudon County trustee, said the sale was a big benefit for both sides since the county can now collect taxes on the properties, while Tellico Village has additional lots to sell and collect POA fees.
Henry Cullen, county commissioner for the district that includes Tellico Village, agreed. “It’s win-win for both of us,” Cullen said. “They get their lots back. Hopefully they’ll be able to market some of them. They sell a couple of those and put houses on them (and) then they can get those POA fees, and it gives the county the tax revenue.”
Cullen believes the Village will have plenty of success getting the lots turned around.
“The marketing team has done, in my opinion, an outstanding job,” he said. “This just gives them some more inventory to move. It was a win-win for both of us and resolved a major problem and a major issue.”
Tellico Village is working with Monroe County, hoping for a similar solution to a problem of delinquent lots in the Kahite community, Johnson said.
The issue in Kahite is much smaller with only 20-30 lots.
“We feel like at the rate we’re selling them, this is really good for us,” Johnson said. “... While we may not be able to put houses on all of them, we’re in control of them, and we’ll see what we can do.”