The Cumberland County Commission approved a resolution denying ownership of the parcel of land that contains Breckenridge dam during its meeting Monday night.
The resolution 11-2017-1 states that a quitclaim deed filed by J.H. Graham III as a grantor to Cumberland County was never accepted by the county.
"Cumberland County Board of Commissioners has the sole authority by majority vote to accept for Cumberland County the ownership of any property awarded by a quitclaim deed…the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners did not vote to accept the parcel known as the Breckenridge Dam no. 2…," the resolution states.
The resolution also quotes Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) 69-11-12 which states, "The repair and maintenance of such roadway shall be the sole responsibility of the state or the county or city constructing the roadway."
The resolution further states Cumberland County did not construct Breckenridge dam no. 2.
Finally, the resolution states, "Cumberland County did not construct the Breckenridge dam no. 2 and thereby Cumberland County herewith denies any legal duties, obligations or liabilities incident to the ownership or duties and liabilities of Breckenridge Dam no. 2."
Sara Sloane, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) deputy director of operations division of water resources, attended the environmental committee meeting earlier this month and explained the history and said in January 2016 a letter requesting payment was sent to Graham and no response was given. She said in February 2016 TDEC water resources division received a letter from county attorney Randal Boston stating Cumberland County owned the dam.
The state sent Cumberland County an invoice and form for an inspection fee for the dam for $500.
In April 2016 Sloane said the county sent a letter from Boston questioning why the county had to pay the fee and stating the county owned the roadway but not the dam.
Sloane said in October 2016 the state sent Cumberland County its first delinquent status letter regarding the dam and in December 2016 the case was sent to enforcement for action due to non-payment and operating the dam with no valid certification.
The state attorney general's office issued a final legal order to Cumberland County in July 2017 that states, "Failure to comply with any of the requirements of the order could lead to further enforcement actions which may include additional civil penalties, assessment of damages, and/or recovery of costs…"
The total in the beginning was $500 and after fees and penalties the total is now listed at $3,536.29.
Last month the county commission tabled a resolution approving the payment and requested the environmental committee further study the matter and withdrew that resolution during Monday night's meeting.
The county commission also approved filing an affidavit with the register of deeds office refusing ownership of the parcel of land and rejecting the quitclaim deed that was filed by Graham in 2001.
The county also denies owing any money to the state for inspection fees, late fees or fines since it is not responsible for the dam.
Rebecca Stone, 3rd District commissioner, moved to approved the resolution and her motion was supported by Tom Isham, 2nd District commissioner. It was approved in a 16-1 vote in favor. Terry Lowe, 5th District commissioner, voted no.
Lowe said the dam was in his district and was important for travel in his area and would not support the action of the commission.
Nancy Hyder, 2nd District commissioner, did not attend the meeting.