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Sales tax due for 2nd council vote

By Sara McManamy-Johnson sjohnson@lebanondemocrat.com • Updated Mar 4, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Lebanon City Council is due to again consider a proposed sales tax referendum.

Councilors during their Feb. 18 meeting passed on first reading an ordinance to ask voters for a half-percent increase on the city’s local option sales tax, raising the rate from 2.25 percent to 2.75 percent.

The measure is up for its second reading during council’s regular meeting Tuesday.

“The main idea of this is if we increase the half-cent sales tax, then we’re looking at probably about a 30 percent reduction in our city of Lebanon property tax, which should equal around 18 cents,” said Mayor Philip Craighead.

State law allows municipalities to set location option sales tax rates up to 2.75 percent on the first $1,600 of any single piece of personal property.

The ordinance would allow the city to place the question on the ballot in a special election.

“We’re hopeful that it will push on through so we can start that campaign,” said Craighead.

The measure narrowly passed on its first reading, with Lanny Jewell, Fred Burton and Kathy Warmath voting no and Joe Hayes, Tick Bryan and Mayor Philip Craighead voting yes.

Council is also due to consider a related resolution that would designate any increased revenue from a sales tax increase to the building of roads and infrastructure within the city.

Additionally, another resolution on the agenda would, “establish the city’s legislative positions and priorities” regarding the proposed sales tax increase.

In effect, the resolution, “resolves to support” a property tax decrease of up to 30 percent if citizens approve the sales tax increase in a referendum.

In other business, council is due to consider the following items:

• Selection of a city council member to serve on the Joint Economic & Community Development Board;

• A line item transfer for the sanitation department for overtime;

• A resolution supporting the Tennessee Department of Transportation Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement grant application to convert sanitation vehicles from diesel to compressed natural gas;

• Hiring a part-time dispatcher for the police department;

• A resolution supporting the MetLife Foundation and Local Initiatives Support Corporation 2014 Community-Police Partnership grant application for gang prevention;

• Approving bids for one storage building for Don Fox Park;

• Approving bids for the T-Hangar Row E project at Lebanon Municipal Airport;

• Approving bids for propane and electric heaters for the water plant;

• Changing city code to exempt the central business zoning district from the local fire sprinkler requirement, but not the Adopted International Fire Code and the Adopted International Building Code;

• Authorizing the purchase of IT training for the MIS department; 

• Approving bids for one compressed natural gas refuse truck for the sanitation department;

• Establishing the city’s right to provide utilities to annexed areas.

Lebanon City Council will meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Town Meeting Hall, located at 200 N. Castle Heights Ave. A work session to discuss a new radio communication system for the city will begin at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

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