The Sullivan County Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to OK the purchase of a former bank building in downtown Kingsport to house the office, which now operates out of an office in Kingsport’s City Hall.
• The new location, 408 Clay St., has most recently been Horizon Credit Union.
• According to state records, the property’s most recent appraisal for tax purposes is $432,000. (“So we got a good deal,” said Commissioner Mark Vance.)
• The county will pay $400,000 for it.
• That money will come from an account within the county’s budget that is made up of fees collected by the clerk’s office — and, under state law, dedicated to be used for the clerk’s office. That account has a balance of $1.1 million.
• The commission approved a resolution to spend up to $475,000 total. The additional $75,000 will cover work to make the new Clay Street location compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act ($25,000 estimated) and to renovate and improve the clerk’s main office in Blountville.
• Horizon Credit Union will continue to maintain its ATM at the Clay Street property and will pay the county $250 per month to do so.
County Mayor Richard Venable said the decision to purchase a building rather than occupy space in Kingsport’s soon-to-be new City Hall in the former Region’s Bank on Church Circle was in no way indicative of acrimony.
Venable said city officials offered to make space available in the new City Hall for the clerk’s office, “But it didn’t suit our needs. This is probably a better solution.”
Earlier this week, Venable noted the Clay Street property comes with an existing drive-through window, which will be a welcome addition of service to residents using the clerk’s office in Kingsport. Venable also noted the property has ample parking of its own, and is across the street from a free city parking lot.
“This is a terrific opportunity to better serve the people of Kingsport,” Vance said, thanking Jacobs and Venable for the work they’ve done over the past months to get the project to this point.