Commissioners Seek Increase In Sales Tax

KEVIN HALPERN, Courier Co-Editor

Cannon County Commissioners want more money from taxpayers to fund local governments, including schools.

To that end, they approved a resolution at their monthly meeting Tuesday night seeking a sales tax increase of 1 percent.

The current local option sales and use tax in Cannon County is 1.75 percent. Commissioners want to increase it to 2.75 percent, the highest permitted by state law.

The state sales tax rate is 7 percent (5.5 percent on food). The local tax is added to the state tax.

Cannon County has the second lowest local option sales tax of any county in the state. Johnson County’s rate is 1.50 percent. Most counties and cities are at 2.25 percent or above, according to Tennessee Department of Revenue statistics.

Cannon County Schools receive 50 percent of the local sales tax. The remaining 50 percent goes to Cannon County, the Town of Woodbury and the City of Auburntown, depending on where the sale is made.

Unlike the case with a property tax, commissioners can not impose an increase in the local portion of the sales tax without the approval of county citizens. Therefore, a referendum will be placed on the ballot for the 2012 County General Election asking voters if they are in favor, or if they are not in favor, of the proposed increase.

Cannon County Executive Mike Gannon contacted the Department of Revenue Wednesday and based on what he was told, an additional 1 percent on the local sales tax would generate around $450,000 per year.

In other business Tuesday the Commissioners:

• Discussed, but took no action on, a concern Commission Chairman Bob Stoetzel brought up about brush being taken to the Cannon County Convenience Center for disposal. Stoetzel said the brush was creating an additional expense because it created the necessity for more trips having to be made to the landfill in Rutherford County.

County Executive Gannon said the county commission approved allowing brush to be taken to the convenience center during the time he was a county commissioner. Gannon added he would stop the practice if commissioners voted to change the policy.

“We have always accepted brush (since he became county executive),” Gannon said. “We can’t bury it and we can’t burn it so we have to take it somewhere.”

Gannon said when contacted Wednesday that he did not believe the amount of brush being taken to the landfill created the necessity for additional trips to the landfill.

• Passed a motion asking Gannon to get the payoff amounts for three loans the county is paying off, one for the Expo Center at the Cannon County Fairgrounds, one for the E911 Center and a third for a water line extension in Porterfield. The county will save an estimated $400,000 in interest charges by paying off the loans. The commission wants to have the amounts of money still owed on the loans by its January meetimg.

• Voted to approve a Debt Management Policy for Cannon County, which the state has mandated each county must do by Dec. 31.

• Took no action on a resolution to eliminate the need for a wheel tax decal.

• Approved a motion to contract with the Upper Cumberland Development District for professional planning assistance. The cost will be around $10,000 per year, and renews each year unless the commission decides to terminate the service. The professional planner will, among other services, assist the Cannon County Planning Commission in developing zoning and land use plans for the county.

• Approved a resolution authorizing the Cannon County Executive and the Solid Waste Director to partner with Advocates for the Upper Cumberland, Inc., with the guidance of the Upper Cumberland Development District Solid Waste Planning Staff, in their efforts in submitting an application to USDA Rural Development for a Solid Waste Management Grant.

The grant would benefit Cannon County by providing additional financial assistance, education and workshops regarding solid waste reduction and recycling efforts.

County Executive Gannon said one use of the grant money, if received, would be to purchase a Skid Steer Loader for use at the convenience center.

• Approved a budget amendment submitted by Sheriff Darrell Young for the purchase of a new fingerprint machine. The machine costs around $26,000 and most of it is being paid for with a grant. The Town of Woodbury is also contributing toward the cost.