Commissioners Seek Increase In Sales Tax

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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.
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Members Opinions:
December 14, 2011 at 3:50pm
Increasing the sales tax is fair for all and will help to reduce property tax increases.
Why not mulch the brush and make it available to the public. The landfill has a frontend loader for loading purposes.
James Adkins
December 14, 2011 at 8:31pm
Increasing the sales tax hurts the poorest citizens in our community.

Just because the tax is considered "fair" because everyone pays it does not mean it is the best way to increase revenue.

There is a reason why the majority of the poorer members of our community don't pay a wheel tax and that is because they can't afford a car.

There is a reason why the majority of the poorer members of our community don't pay property taxes because they can't afford to buy a house and the bank wouldn't loan them the money on the amount of income they bring in each month anyway.

However, all of those people have to eat and survive on that income. Every dime taken out for taxes is a dime taken away from their ability to provide the basics of life like food and medicine.

Speaking for myself I don't have an issue paying more in sales tax because God has blessed me to be able to. So before that is said, understand I will gladly pay more because I can.

But, for the life of me I cannot understand why anyone would think that raising taxes with an economy like we are living in and especially a tax that affects the poorest people in our community like the eldery is a good idea just because it is considered "fair".

December 14, 2011 at 11:27pm
one way to save county money here is to perhaps forbid persons from other counties from dumping their trash at our convenience center. I have parked behind SEVERAL persons with TRAILERS of builders debris and just garbage these being from Dekalb county, Warren county, Rutherford county and one from Coffee County. Maybe they should charge a fee for those from outside the county. I was given to understand that the convenience center was ONLY for county residence...when did this change??
December 15, 2011 at 5:48am
Well said Corey, My husband lost his job two years ago on the verge of retiring, and I also lost my job,cutting back, and moving to another state, we have no insurance and are praying for a better day, Corey, you said what I was thinking. Still, there are a lot of people a lot worse off than we are.
December 15, 2011 at 7:03am
Some of those people with out-of-county plates are dumping Granny's garbage when they come visit. Builder's debris is likely from some remodeling, building etc IN this county, a contractor is not likely to use a lot of gas to come dump stuff in Cannon! My plate says Bedford County, because that is where I bought it, but I've owned property here for over 30 years and paid my property taxes and wheel taxes every year. I don't have a pickup truck so any large loads of trash will be dumped by my son, who has Warren county plates on his truck.
December 15, 2011 at 10:43am
Corey - How many of the "poorer people" are going to Walmart and buying their supplies and already are paying a higher tax that Rutherford County gets instead of cannon County
James Adkins
December 15, 2011 at 11:48am
James I don't know how many of the poorer community are going to Wal-Mart. I have never tracked it.

What I do know is there is a reason why they go to Wal-Mart. And that is because the prices are lower than any place in Woodbury nine times out of ten and there is a better selection of items there than there is here nine times out of ten.

When you have a budget and the amount of money you have must last you from month to month then you will go wherever prices are cheaper.

Even when people drive to Wal-Mart and pay that higher tax the cost of the item is still cheaper more times than not because the overall price of the item is lower than it is here.

Wal-Mart and other stores have lower prices because they can buy in bulk and work out better deals than local stores and that is just fact. If you have $200 to go toward food each month I daresay everyone would go to a place that offers the lowest prices.

Again, this is not about me not wanting to pay the tax because I could and not have any issues with it. I buy my gas here when I pass by stations .10 cents lower every day. I shop locally because I want my taxes to go here. But, I can afford to do that and not worry about every dime I spend. There are others who don't have that luxury.

I will say again I don’t believe the idea of raising taxes while we are in an economic disaster like we face today makes logical sense. Especially a tax that affects the poorest individuals of the community.

People on Social Security haven’t had but a very small raise over the last few years. Meanwhile the cost of living has increased dramatically. Now we want to say to those people we want more simply because we think it is “fair” that everyone pays? To the contrary that goes against the idea of what fair is to me.

I don’t want you to take it personally, but to me this is just a bad way of trying to raise revenue when there are other ways to do it.
December 15, 2011 at 12:40pm
This is ridiculous! They already raised property tax this year, and now they want to do sales tax as well?!?!

How about cutting something instead. All this is going to do is drive people to shop outside of cannon county. If my commissioner votes for this, he's losing my vote.
December 15, 2011 at 1:00pm
The mind set that walmart is cheaper is what keeps their parking lot full. Walmart does price the junk they sell as cheap as they can. With most items, you can shop and get variety, quality and competitive prices right here in Cannon County, dont believe me, shop and see for yourself. After you are done shopping take that five you save in gas and have lunch.
I oppose all taxes especally increased sales tax mainly because it does decrease the advantages of shopping locally. When you have to increase county revenue, sometimes you have to do things that are not popular.

December 15, 2011 at 10:34pm
Hey Cutie Pie...just because you bought the vehicle in Bedford county does not mean that forever after it must be plated there. I bought mine in Davidson and plated it here. And just for curiousity, if as you say you do pay wheel tax here, then why are you plated in another county??
December 16, 2011 at 6:29am
DebbiJen: when you renew your license plates at the County Clerk's office they just give you a new date sticker and a wheel tax sticker, not fresh new plates,so the plates still say Bedford on the little strip on the bottom. It's not that complex!
December 17, 2011 at 6:34am
Some people are always saying to shop at home. Where are you going to purchase new shoes and clothing for your family to wear to church and school in this county? I think our county would better off if we had a wal-mart.
December 22, 2011 at 7:38pm
first, I spend a lot of money where I can get by the cheapest, maybe not always the best. I work outside of this county because I can't make a decent living here. I do buy my gas here, which is around $80 a week. I agree with Coey (well said) we dont need a sales tax increase. By the way CutiePie, all you have to do is ask for a Cannon County sticker to put at the bottom of your plate and they will gladly give you one. I got 2 of them from the clerks office.
December 28, 2011 at 10:34am
People on Social Security got a small cost-of-living raise. Where I work, we haven't had a raise in 4 years!! And the business is local!! I own my home so the tax thing will hit hard but,it has to come from somewhere! And I have found that cleaning supplies are cheaper here at Fred's and the Dollar Market than they are at Wal-mart-for the same thing in the same size!! I was throughly suprised!!
December 28, 2011 at 12:08pm
@ Cutie Pie : When you renew your tags, you can request a new County Sticker as well. We have had to do this with several of ours.
December 28, 2011 at 1:31pm
The "small cost-of-living" raise that the people on Social Security will receive in 2012 amounts to basically nothing considering the cost of Medicare Part B (doctor visits and outpatient services) was increased to a much higher premiums. The raise does nothing but off-set what the premium increase is.

I empathize with anyone who hasn't had a raise in 4 years or lost their job, but that just proves what I have been saying all along. Raising taxes in an economy such as the one we live in today is ludicrous to put it nicely.

I also shop locally, buy my gas locally and try to do everything I can to ensure my tax dollars stay here in this county, but no market in Cannon County and no store in Cannon County can beat what Wal-Mart sells because they match the price of anything any other store sells.

For the record I am not advocating Wal-Mart. But again if you only have $200.00 a month for food you will go where you have the best selection at the lowest price.

I ask everyone to take the $1010.00 a month challenge and then come back and see if you think raising the sales tax is a good idea.

This is an actual 100% real income for someone I know. This is for one person with no other income who does not take any other form of government assistance.

1. $440 is your house payment.
2. $99 is you electric bill (on a warm month)
3. $60 is your gas bill
4. $36 is your phone bill
5. $57 is your house insurance
6. $69 is your car insurance

That leaves you a grand total of $249 a month to buy your prescriptions and your groceries and that is only IF your electric bill does not fluctuate. So you might have around $60.00 a week to buy food and any medicine you need.

For all those who thinks raising the sales tax on individuals who have to live like this, in an economy like this, has a different idea of what "fair" is than I do.
December 28, 2011 at 6:04pm
The commission is looking at different ways to raise money and keep from having to raise any property taxes. NOt all commissioners are in agreement. First District Commissioner Russell Reed voted no and 4th districts Clint Higgins was absent. The school benefits more than anyone on this when they get half of the sales tax. The schools are always going to be in need of money. Hopefully, by getting this money from sales tax it will decrease the need for extra money for the school to come from property tax money.
Corey, it didn't pass last time and we on the commission knew it will be a uphill fight, but we are investigating all possible ways to save this county money. You are probably thinking "How can raising sales tax saver money?" the very though on raising taxes is not saving, right? If you want to know more about these taxes contact Ray D. Todd. He has spent 40 years at the state crunching the numbers. I have talked to him and he said he will be glad to go to all the communities and lay out the business end of the taxes.
Also this next commission meeting we will be getting the payoff on three major loans where when we pay them off they will save the county over $300,000.00 in interest.
Having the lowest tax rate in the state doesn't always equate to a good thing.
Bob Stoetzel
County Commission
December 29, 2011 at 9:34am
Bob I understand the need for more revenue. I empathize with your and other commissioners plight to find ways to increase it and I applaude it and appreciate it, but there are other ways like you pointed out that can help besides raising taxes.

However, I will never believe raising taxes on the poorest citizens of this county is the right thing to do no matter who says it.

I illustrated above a 100% accurate income of someone I know. Not many people can live like that and survive.

The challenge to survive on $1010 a month goes out to you and the other nine commissioners as well. When you try it and then come back and still think you want to raise the taxes of the people who live like that then I would be more than glad to talk with any of you.

For the record I am all for the schools. I have a daughter and a son who benefits or does not benefit by the school budget. But I will say something most of you won't.

Schools are a black hole when it comes to money. You can never give them enough. You could give them a million over what they asked for this year and they would want two million next year.

What is even more discouraging about that is if you look at the school budget you will see approximately a 50% increase in pay for one particular person over the last four years while none of the county employees have had a raise in over five.

If memory serves me correct it is about a $30,000 raise during that four year period. There are other areas of that budget that have crazy numbers as well.

You are asking me as a citizen to vote yes to an increase in sales tax that will affect the poorest citizens of our community so we can give 1/2 of it to a school system budget that you and none of the other nine commissioners have control over.

How could that possibly be logical in any way?

If this was about people like myself who didn't have problems paying the increase you wouldn't hear a word about it from me, but it isn't and 99% of them can't say anything and wouldn't even if they could.

Having the highest tax rate in the state doesn't always equate to a good thing either.
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