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Wheel Tax Proposed in Van Buren

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

The Van Buren County Budget Committee will propose a $40 Wheel Tax be placed on the November ballot.

Committee Chairman William Maxwell said the tax will bring in needed funds for schools and will help generate more money for the county’s general fund. He said the revenues would be split evenly between the School Board and county.

“The School System is going to need some increases,” Maxwell said. “Our Maintenance of Effort with the School System has been the same for many years. I’m unclear on how long that’s been since there was an increase, but it’s been a good bit.”

Maxwell said in addition to generating revenue for schools, the Wheel Tax can also create extra revenue to assist with future budget cycles. The Van Buren County Commission will consider the Wheel Tax, as well as the 2020-2021 budget and a 45-cent property tax increase on August 10.

A Wheel Tax would not help Van Buren County with its current budget shortfall, Maxwell said. Instead he said it is a way to address the county’s future.

“The problem we have now with the finances we cannot answer with a Wheel Tax because it has to go to a vote by the people,” Maxwell said. “So it’s not immediate revenue. We could not balance our budget with that revenue because of the unknown, so we took advantage of the election coming up to be able to have the citizens voice their opinions on the Wheel Tax.”

In 2018, the Van Buren County Commission passed a $10 Wheel Tax to help fund correction officers for the new county jail and the county’s E-911 service. That tax was struck down by voters in a special election in February 2019.

Maxwell said residents have voiced displeasure of how the county leaders have managed the financial problems. He said residents have the right to look over the county financials documents if they feel the county has mismanaged funds.

“They can review financial documents,” Maxwell said. “There’s many people saying misspending and misuse of funds. There’s those folks out there. There have been some mistakes, but I don’t believe there any misspending. There are things, like I was talking about, we’re held to and we cannot decrease. That’s the things we have to pay for. If we want to have things, we have to be willing to pay for it or live with inconvenience.”

While acknowledging the County Commission has made mistakes, Maxwell said he believes all the Commissioners are working to improve the financial situation in Van Buren County. He said a lot of hard decisions have been made since budget preparations began.

“It’s easy to cast stones at these elected officials, including myself,” Maxwell said. “But we’re trying to do the best for everybody and make Van Buren County a great place to be. We’ve heard several people say they wished the Comptroller’s office would come in and take it over. I can tell you that is not what you want. I think people have a misconception of what that means. If you don’t understand that, reach out to someone and get the real story; get the truth. You can contact the Comptroller’s office and they can tell you.”

Maxwell said he hopes people will reach out to their Commissioner in the coming days to allow their voices to be heard.



The post Wheel Tax Proposed in Van Buren appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.