For the Tribune-Courier
The controversy surrounding a land use agreement between the county and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) came to an anticlimactic end June 11 when Marshall County Fiscal Court voted to pay a $5,000 fee for renewal of an easement to Big Bear Park.
TVA required payment for ongoing use of the land loaned out to the county, which has cleaned up and developed into a day-use park in the years since the initial agreement went into effect in 1986.
The land-use easement was created for a term of 25 years. Controversy erupted in early April, when TVA asked the county for $5,000 to renew the existing easement on the land used and maintained by the county.
Commissioners and Judge-Executive Mike Miller were angered by the request and tabled the issue for the past two meetings.
“My problem has been all along, I think they’re just being absolutely unreasonable in view of the fact that we’ve spent all the money, they’ve spent nothing; we continue to spend money for maintenance, for upkeep and all that,” said Miller.
But during last week’s meeting, commissioners reluctantly acted.
“I don’t want to give in to them, but we’re going to have to,” said Bob Gold, “I don’t think they’re going to relent.”
TVA had made a counter offer of a $1,500 option in response to a request for a waiver of the fee by Miller.
“Well, the way I see it, if we take a $1,500 license option and they revoke our permit for some reason, that’s beyond our control,” said Commissioner Misti Drew.
Drew made a motion to pay for an easement, which Terry Anderson seconded.
Miller voted no on the motion, “just as a protest,” he said. “I know we had to do it.”