LEBANON, Tenn.- Wilson
County commissioners are split on whether a 22-cent increase is needed, but that
change could add up to millions for the county.
In total this increase
would bring in an extra $7.2 million to the county every year, and it includes
raises for county employees, which one commissioner has an issue with.
It’s been four years since
the last property tax increase in Wilson County.
Some commissioners say a
tax hike is overdue. The proposal for a 22-cent increase is up for a vote next
week, and Commissioner Jerry McFarland says he’ll be voting a flat out, “No.”
“We are spending too much.
We got to do more with less and tighten our belt just like anybody does in
these dire economic times.”
But others say it’s needed
for education, roads, and to build the general fund for deputies and fire
departments. But what really irks McFarland is that 3.91 cents will go towards
a raise for county employees, which will directly benefit several
commissioners. Yet, homeowners and business owners will have to shell out more
if the tax passes.
For example a $300,000 home
would pay an additional $165 a year. In total, it adds up to $7.2 million out
of residents’ pockets.
“It’s telling me that the
government is telling us that we can keep on spending money, but you’ve got to
tighten your belts,” said resident Sherrie Orange.
Orange said she’d rather
take that few hundred dollars and put it back into the local economy.
“When you have more money
to spend you are going to increase the sales revenue,” she explained.
McFarland isn’t opposed to
a tax increase in the future, but he says now is simply not the time.
Most of the 22-cent
increase would go towards the general fund and the debt to pay off several new
schools. The rest is for new school buses, drivers, fuels, sanitation, roads
and of course the 4% employee salary increase.