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White County Commissioners Approve Sales Tax Referendum

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
White County Commissioners Approve Sales Tax Referendum

White County Commissioners hope to add some $1 million in annual sales tax revenue by adding a referendum to the August county general election ballot.

Commissioner Derrick Hutchings told Commissioners Tuesday night the resolution would increase the county’s sales tax from 2.25 percent to 2.75 to match the rate in Sparta. He said the extra funds could help with employee retention.

“The county needs this,” Hutchings said. “We need to help fund our county employees. We have a deficit for our county employees’ pay, and me as a commissioner, that’s my prime goal; to pass this so that we can give our county employees the raise that they need and deserve.”

Hutchings said if successful, the increase could finance a 10 percent raise for every county employee.

Hutchings said the county tried this at last year’s election, but the referendum failed. He said after speaking with White County residents, many have changed their opinion.

“We talked to a lot of constituents after that,” Hutchings said. “A lot of them that voted “no” said, ‘We didn’t realize what exactly you were trying to accomplish. We heard sales tax and we’re against taxes,’ but once they realized that they’re actually already paying for it and not receiving the benefit, they said, ‘We need this.’”

He said Sparta accounts for 60-70 percent of the county’s sales tax. He said there was a low turnout the last time this was on the ballot, so he hopes to get more eyes on the resolution this time around.

“Only about 25 percent of the citizens live in the city roughly,” Hutchings said. “So, the biggest majority of our citizens live, we’re spending our money in the city, but we’re not getting to receive the full benefit of it.”

The resolution passed by a vote of nine to three.

The commission also voted to add a 35-mile-per-hour speed limit to Glenn Road between Jarvis Road and Franks Ferry Road.


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