Friday, June 22, 2012

The Sullivan County Wheel Tax Proposal
Discussions have turned to a potential tax increase in Sullivan County as commissioners have been considering a property tax increase as a way to balance next year’s budget. The Budget Committee only has until July first so some commissioners introduced the wheel tax idea. That proposal would assess a 25-dollar tax on each car or truck in Sullivan County and would be collected with license plate renewals. The tax is estimated to generate around 7-million dollars a year and avoid a burden on property owners alone. The school district has a 2.6-million dollar surplus but does not want to use it to balance a budget that is now estimated to be over by 3.8-million. The opinion is that most counties in Tennessee that are the size of Sullivan County use the wheel tax. The problem with a wheel tax is getting it passed and the county needs a property tax rate set so they can borrow money to fund payroll in July and August. The wheel tax idea would require a two-thirds vote or 16 of the 24 commissioners while a property tax increase would only need 13 votes or a simple majority to pass. Commissioners will probably need two scheduled meetings in July to get this done. The Sullivan County Elections office explains that county residents can circulate a petition to gain 3,993 signatures from registered voters within 30 days for the tax measure to get on a ballot. (bg)

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