Sevier County, Tennessee

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Transparency Grade
Budget N
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Meetings P
Elected Officials P
Administrative Officials P
Permits, zoning
Audits N
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Contracts N
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Lobbying N
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Public records N
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Local taxes P
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Transparency grading process
Sevier County (pronounced "severe") is one of 95 Tennessee counties. It is a member of the National Association of Counties, a government sector lobbying association.[1]

Its population was 71,170 at the 2000 United States Census. It is included in the Sevierville, Tennessee Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Knoxville-Sevierville-La Follette, TN Combined Statistical Area. The county seat is at Sevierville, the largest city in the county.

Website evaluation

Main article: Evaluation of Tennessee county websites

Last rated on an unknown date.

The good

  • Administrative Officials
    • Department heads are listed for each department.[2]
  • Elected Officials
    • Elected officials are listed with a mailing address and phone number.[3]
    • A meeting calendar is available and names the times and locations of public meetings.[4]
  • Taxes
    • Residents are able to pay taxes online.[5]
  • Permits and zoning
    • Zoning ordinances are posted online.[6]
    • Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.[7]

The bad

  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes and agendas are not archived for at least 3 years.
  • Elected Officials
    • Personalized emails are not available for elected officials.
  • Administrative Officials
    • Contact information is not available for county officials.
  • Budgets
    • Budget is not published or archived for at least 3 years.
  • Audits
    • Audits are not online.
  • Contracts
    • Bids and contracts are not posted.
  • Lobbying
  • Public Records
  • Taxes
    • Tax revenues and tax rates are not provided.

Charging for public records

In 2008, Kim Pierce, a candidate for Sevier County sheriff, took issue with how much money the county charges when citizens want to look at its records.[8]

Ann Butterworth, the head of the public records ombudsman office for Tennessee said, "The Tennessee Open Records Act provides for access by citizens of Tennessee to inspect public records during business hours, at no charge. I am unaware of any legal basis for charging a 'retrieval fee.' Even if copies must be made of a record in order to remove or redact confidential information, if you do no wish to take or keep the copy of the redacted record, you are not obligated to compensate the custodian for the production of that copy."

County mayor Larry Waters is asking county attorney Jerry McCarter to weigh in before he considers a refund to Pierce for the times she was charged for looking at records. He said, "We had people coming in asking to see 120 pages, not just five or something."

A decision was handed down on July 3, 2008 that the county will no longer charge an access fee for public documents.[9] Despite that piece of advice, Sevier County officials are continuing to charge substantial fees as they await further direction.[10] Kim Peirce has officially requested a refund of her overpayments.[11]

Stimulus plan money

The county is geared to receive $7.3 million dollars from the stimulus bill. Of the total $4.8 million is potentially destined for Sevier County schools and would be used to buy textbooks and keep personnel, said Karen King, the district’s director of finance. The other $2.5 million would be directed to construction project in the county.[12]

External links