White County commissioners have approved sales tax vote

Posted By | November 21, 2019 11:45 am

By Ron Moses

White County residents will have the opportunity to cast a vote during the March 3 presidential primary on raising the sales and usage tax.

This development came following a county commission vote, on Nov. 18, 2019, that placed the matter on the ballot. If approved, the sales and usage tax for the county will increase from 2.25 percent to 2.75 percent. Recently, the City of Sparta passed a similar referendum.

Roger Mason presented the resolution before the commission. The commission then voted with a two-thirds majority to have the resolution heard.

“The legal lingo on this resolution, basically, to me, what it says is when the City of Sparta had the referendum that passed the sales tax was increased from 2.25 to 2.75,” said Mason. “The estimates that we have seen are that 80 to 85 percent of the sales tax revenue collected inside White County is collected inside the city limits.”

Mason said all of the funds collected by the city are allocated to the city government.

“If the sales tax in the county matches the sales tax rate in the city, the county and the city split the funds 50/50,” said Mason. “We, as a county legislative body, cannot undo the sales tax rate that was increased in the city limits. Our options at this point, in my opinion, are do nothing and [forfeit] the half-cent increase to the city or adopt the city rate.”

Mason said the school system will win big in that scenario.

“The way the structure is the school system will get a large portion of that,” said Mason. By doing this we ensure the residents in the county that are spending their money inside the city limits are represented by those revenues that are collected.”

The resolution was passed. Cain Rogers, Stanley Neal, and Bobby McCulley voted against the resolution. Lonnie Crouch was absent.

Also approved was a resolution to take $80,000 from the county’s savings account for the implementation of building codes and/or health and safety codes enforcement and management as deemed appropriate by the Health and Safety Exploratory Sub-Committee and the county executive.

“It will increase deficit on the budget,” said Denny Wayne Robinson. “We feel like the fees will be real close to offsetting this, but when we do this it is a reoccurring, annual expense. It is not a one-time expenditure.”

In other business:

  • A resolution was passed to increase tipping fees at the landfill from $41.25 to $51.25 per ton. According to the resolution, the fee includes $1.25 fee charged by the state. The fees will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
  • A $1 fee will now be charged to any person disposing of more than eight tires per year in the landfill and any business disposing tires at the landfill, as long as those businesses do not sell tires in White County and have valid business licenses in White County or provide proof of paying the Tire Disposal Fee to the State of Tennessee from the White County business. According to documents provided, any number of tires being disposed of, above and beyond the number submitted to the state, by the business will be charged $1 per tire.

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