Skip to Content

Putnam Commission Chair Says It’s Time To Explore School Sales Tax Allocations

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Putnam Commission Chair Says It’s Time To Explore School Sales Tax Allocations

A new way to allocate sales tax revenue to the Putnam County School System remains a possibility for the County Commission to discuss next year.

The school system has been placed on a fix rate since the 2008 recession. Commission Chair Ben Rodgers said he thinks it is time to explore a percentage-based model in upcoming budget talks.

“Schools need a mechanism for growth,” Rodgers said. “They do get the state funding and that’s a big part of their funding, but locally they still need to have that portion by state law. But, they also need a mechanism for growth and right now the only growth in local revenue is property tax.”

Rodgers said in his opinion, the county should find a way to give up some sales tax revenue in the short-term. Rodgers said property tax has grown well, but not as much as sales tax. However, Rodgers said reallocating sales tax revenue will be a challenge.

“Until we get read of some debt which we are in the next couple of years, our flexibility to allocate sales tax to other places will be tough,” Rodgers said. “That would take a new percentage for the school system instead of a fixed amount. If the sales tax is up, they will get more and the county will get less. We are going to work on a plan hopefully starting budget time next year.”

Rodgers said he believes that the commission and school board can reach an agreement. Rodgers said debt capacity, future debt, school growth and the future economy will all be things to consider when exploring options.

“With Mayor Porter, Mr. (Corby) King and myself, I think we can get to a good compromise and get with the school board and the commission, but I think the number crunching is going to have to start with me, Mayor Porter, Mr. King and Mr. (Mark) McReynolds and talk about what debt capacity we have now and what debt we have in the future. They are going to need a school here in the next three to five years and that’s going to cost $50 million plus. Sales tax is funding that, so it’s one of those things… would you rather have money to build a school? Would you rather have money for teachers? Or do you want a happy median and do both? We’ll work on it and take a good approach.”

Rodgers said no official discussions have taken place since the budget passed in July.


The post Putnam Commission Chair Says It’s Time To Explore School Sales Tax Allocations appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.