Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson proclaimed Thursday as Bill Yost Day in honor of the longtime attorney for the Williamson County government who is discontinuing his work with the county.
“I would like for all of us to show Bill the appreciation that he has had for all of us during these many, many years,” Anderson said during Monday’s County Commission meeting. “Bill, thank you very much.”
Yost has a long history as an attorney in Middle Tennessee and has spent most of his career — over 40 years — serving as Williamson County’s delinquent tax attorney. He was first appointed to this role in 1979 by Lilly Buford, who then was county trustee. He has been reappointed by the three county trustees, including current trustee Karen Paris, since that time.
Paris said that she had worked with Yost for 15 years before becoming the county trustee when she was the chief deputy trustee. In her eyes, Yost has “no peer” in the state that matches his level of diligence and knowledge.
“You want to meet his expectations. ... I always wanted our office to be as professional and diligent on our side so that what we had turned over to him we had done our very best on,” Paris said. “It's been a pleasure to work with him, and I would just say that his knowledge of the law is sort of intimidating, in a way, because he knows it backwards and forwards.”
Before his work with the county, Yost started his legal career as an associate at Joe Saperstein and Associates in Nashville after his graduation from Vanderbilt Law School in 1973. Two years later, he became a partner at Petersen, Buerger and Yost in Franklin, where he remained until 1986. While he worked for the county, he also worked at his current job at Yost Robertson Nowak.
“His guidance and counsel is respected and sought by delinquent (tax) attorneys across the state in Tennessee in developing best practices in collecting delinquent real and personal property taxes,” Anderson said.
He mentioned that, under Yost, the county has achieved one of the highest tax collection rates in the state, including a rate of over 99.96% in 1996 and 1997.
Paris said he was persistent and diligent in his research and in treating all accounts the same, regardless of the amount of tax he looked to recover.
“(Excellence) is also not shirking duty on the ones that are, say, small accounts, difficult to find,” she said. “He views his role to be equitable in the treatment of all taxpayers, and that means trying just as hard to collect a $25 tax as a $2,500 tax.”
Williamson County Property Assessor Brad Coleman shared that Yost spent his career "working for the taxpayer," saying that he paved the way for those who will come after him.
Bill Yost Day, which honors not only a prominent local attorney but also a decorated army veteran, also serendipitously falls a day after Veterans Day. Yost served during the Vietnam War as a squad leader in the U.S. Army with the 1st Cavalry Division in the 2nd Battalion of the 8th Cavalry.
Anderson said that upon Yost’s retirement from his work with the county, Yost looks forward to having more time for his hobbies.
“(He) will soon be spending more time enjoying his favorite hobbies of cooking French cuisine with his friends, growing heirloom tomatoes … exploring Tennessee for wild mushrooms and continuing to advocate for the preservation of farmlands, open space and scenic views on his beloved Gambier, Ohio, area,” Anderson said.