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Sullivan BOE votes to follow County Commission on liquor lawsuit decision

Rick Wagner • Updated Feb 8, 2018 at 8:27 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Sullivan County’s Board of Education voted in a called meeting Thursday afternoon to go along with the County Commission’s decision on whether to seek permission to appeal a liquor-by-the-drink lawsuit loss to the Tennessee Supreme Court, and it delayed a decision on how to proceed with a sealed bid auction on the former Weaver Elementary School.

The board voted 5-2 to go along with the commission’s decision, even if the commission reverses its January vote against seeking permission to appeal at its Feb. 20 meeting.  decision. Board members Randall Jones and Matthew Spivey, the later not present but voting through a cell phone connection, indicated they supported abandoning any thought of appeal. Both the school board and the commission were plaintiffs in the lawsuit, one of four in the courts. The other three were from Washington County, Bradley County and Blount County. Blount and Bradley have indicated they will appeal by the Feb. 26 deadline, Sullivan County Attorney Dan Street said. If any counties get to sue and win on appeal, only those that appealed would get retroactive tax money, estimated to be about $2 million for Sullivan over 30 years.

The board voted voted 7-0 to table action on a plan to seek sealed bids proposal to sell the former Weaver Elementary and its 10.5-acre campus until a called meeting Feb. 22. At issue was whether the sealed bids should be on four parcels or two parcels, with one idea is adjoining residential property owners simply be allowed to buy narrow slices of land at fair market value. 

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