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Hotel tax hike sees resistance in subcommittee

Kimberly Jordan kjordan@lebanondemocrat.com • Updated Jan 29, 2014 at 2:13 PM

The Wilson County Commission considered several items of business at its Wednesday meeting.

State Rep. Mark Pody visited the commission and was asked for an update on a private act sent to the legislature asking for a 3 percent increase in the county’s hotel/motel tax, which Pody said at the present time "has not gotten any support" and would likely not make it out of the subcommittee.

"I have had many hotel/motel representatives who have lobbied against it," Pody said. "The 3 percent is dead. It does not have any support."

Commissioners then voted to allow him to negotiate on the percentage of increase if that would give the private act a better chance for passage.

The commission wants to use proceeds from the 3 percent tax increase to fun building an expo center at the Wilson County Fairgrounds in Lebanon. 

Among other business at hand, each department head was asked to give a quarterly report with the status of their respective agency. Sheriff Robert Bryan reported that overall crime in the county is down, but there were increases in juvenile complaints, as well as domestic violence calls. Traffic accidents have also risen since this same period last year.

"We are seeing a large increase in the number of meth labs. It's a danger to the community, to law enforcement and to WEMA personnel that respond to these calls," he said.

WEMA Director Joey Cooper reported his department responded to more than 15,600 calls in 2013. He also thanked the commission for allowing the funding for the recently opened Station 9.

"Without you, it would not have happened,” Cooper said.

Veterans Service Officer Bernie Ash said his office served 621 veterans and their families, and said "the Veterans Park is on track to begin construction on Feb. 3."

Commissioner Wendell Marlowe made a recommendation that Mayor Randall Hutto change the members currently sitting on the Ethics Committee, "due to inadequate representation of needs."

In a 15-7 vote (two abstaining, one absent), the commission decided to delete the five members currently serving on the committee. Hutto said he will bring five new names to the February meeting.

Other items approved at the meeting included:

• A line item transfer to the Election Commission.

• A line item transfer to the Sheriff's Department.

• An additional appropriation to the Capital Projects Fund.

• Additional appropriation to Animal Control.

• An appropriation from the general fund for contributions to other agencies (nonprofits).

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