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Schools growth fuels sales tax talks

By Kimberly Jordan kjordan@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 15, 2015 at 3:01 PM

Wilson County Finance Director Aaron Maynard had some encouraging words for commissioners at Monday’s county commission meeting.

During his monthly report, Maynard told the commissioners his office was working on final numbers for the upcoming budget for the county.

“We are working diligently,” he said “I’d like to commend the budget committee. We are working on getting final numbers. We are somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.8 million to the good right now.”

The Wilson County School Board will discuss its budget Aug. 2. Director of Schools Donna Wright said in her report Monday that the system could expect an influx of 600-800 students by the start of the 2014-15 school year next week.

Maynard also commended commissioners for placing the sales tax referendum on the August ballot.

“As your new director of schools pointed out, you’re looking at a lot of times anywhere from 600-800 new students a year,” said Maynard. “The fact of the matter is our school systems are growing by leaps and bounds.”

Maynard said that although he is not an elected official, he still has many residents ask him why everything is funded through a property tax.

“If there’s one thing I’ve heard, not being an elected official, when I’m caught out by the public, it’s ‘why do you do everything with a property tax? I’d rather you raise the sales tax. I’d rather see you do a wheel tax.’ The simple answer to that is that has to go on a referendum and you have to vote for it.”

He added that the school system could be looking at a budget of more than $3 million.

“This three-and-a-half million, roughly, that we’re talking about for the school system, if this referendum passes. I think its needed.

“I’m not the schools’ finance director, but I am going to say that with that kind of growth, there’s eventually going to have to be some money coming from somewhere,” said Maynard.

The referendum on the August ballot asks voters if they approve of a half-cent sales tax increase. The current rate is 2.25 percent, and the referendum, if passed, would raise that rate to 2.75 percent, which Maynard said is the maximum rate allowed under state law.

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