Monday, February 18, 2008

Rhea County determined to hike sales tax

Rhea County Voters rejected a tax hike by a margin of 2,713 to 2,622 on Feb. 5. So commissioners are going to wait the required 6 months and try again.

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The Rhea County Commission will decide Tuesday whether to place a referendum on a half-cent sales tax increase on the Aug. 7 ballot.

The referendum dedicates the county’s share of the resulting revenue to capital improvements for Rhea County schools. Voters rejected it by a margin of 2,713 to 2,622 on Feb. 5.

Rhea County Executive Billy Ray Patton told the commission at Tuesday’s workshop that the state Division of Elections had informed him that the referendum could legally be put forward again.

“They said that when a referendum fails, you have to wait six months before you can put it on the ballot again,” he said. “Well, Aug. 7 would be six months and two days since the Feb. 5 vote, so we can ask the question again.”

Several commissioners expressed their disappointment in the referendum’s rejection.

“I have to say that I personally did not do enough to get it passed,” said District 8 Commissioner Bill Hollin. “I did not go door to door and I should have. To be honest, I thought it was so simple that it would pass.”