County Commissioners passed on first reading a resolution to hike the Cannon County wheel tax by $20 during Thursday's (Aug. 6) meeting.
The resolution, sponsored by the Commission's Budget Committee, passed 7 to 3, a two-thirds majority.
Voting "yes" were Commissioners Mark Barker, Todd Hollandsworth, Karen Ashford, Jamie Holloway, Glenn Steakley, Richie Hunter and Adam Melton. Voting "no" were Commissioners Russell Reed, Jim Bush and Brent Bush
The resolution, which would increase the county wheel tax from $50 to $70, requires a second two-thirds majority vote by the Commission before it can be enacted. The Commission is expected to vote again on the issue during its August meeting.
If the wheel tax hike passes the Commission twice with a two-thirds majority, the general public will have 30 days to call for a public referendum on the issue. A petition would require 210 signatures by registered Cannon County voters.
"That $20 would be earmarked for the county general (budget) and would generate $260,000 which would be equal to a 13 cent hike on the property tax rate," explained County Executive Mike Gannon.
"We're just trying to come up with different ways of funding the county budget," said Commissioner Mark Barker, who is chairman of the county's Budget Committee.
Increasing the wheel tax seems more fair than another substantial property tax increase, said Barker, and would tax Cannon County residents who don't own property.
Three residents took the opportunity to voice opposition to any kind of tax increase.
"I don't understand the logic," said taxpayer Ronnie Mahaffey adding that Cannon County's budget was $176,000 higher than the previous year. "Where are your cuts?"
Mahaffey urged Commissioners to look at the county's bottom line and cut from there. "We need a combination of cuts and increases."
Another citizen asked, "What will be lost if there are no increases" in spending?
Substantial cuts in fuel prices should be considered along with no salary increases for elected officials, he suggested.