Plans for a referendum seeking an increase to Lebanon’s sales tax rate are now on hold following a move by the Wilson County Commission.
Mayor Philip Craighead said during Lebanon’s city council meeting Tuesday that a vote Monday night by Wilson County Commissioners seeking a countywide sales tax increase would delay the city’s planned referendum.
“We are put on a holding pattern,” said Craighead. “We have to wait for [the county] to hold their election.”
He said the county would likely hold its referendum in August, which nixes the city’s plans to hold its referendum in May.
Craighead said Phillip Warren, Wilson County’s administrator of elections, told him the likely timeframe for the city’s referendum would be between Sept. 22 and Oct. 6.
Craighead also said he understands the county needs the sales tax dollars for education, but he said the city needs them too.
“The city is in need of dollars to move forward on a lot of fronts,” said Craighead.
Lebanon City Council voted March 4 to seek a referendum asking for an increase from the city’s current rate of 2.25 percent to 2.75 percent, the maximum allowed by the state.
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 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 Craighead.
In other business, council approved the following items:
• second reading of an ordinance to amend the city’s Future Land Use Plan by changing land at 227 S. Maple St. from commercial office to industrial commercial;
• second reading of an ordinance to change property at 227 S. Maple St. from restricted business to light industrial;
• second reading of an ordinance to change the city’s 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;
• a Certificate of Compliance for a Retail Package Store for West Main Wine and Spirits;
• the appointment of Mike Walls to the Lebanon Municipal Planning Commission;
• line item transfers for the customer service department for postage, training and travel expenses;
• first reading of an ordinance to change property at 430 W. Main St. from low-density residential to transitional office;
• first reading of an ordinance to change a portion of an unaddressed property at the corner of South Hartmann Drive and Hickory Ridge Road from agricultural to highway business;
• first reading of an ordinance to change the city’s code to change the height limit in the highway business zoning district from five stories to seven stories;
• first reading of an amended ordinance authorizing the acquisition of right-of-way for the Walter J. Baird Middle School Safe Routes to School project along West Forrest Avenue;
• a resolution to promote and assist with the Legends Drive extension and the Beckwith Road connector streets and associated infrastructure;
• a resolution to allow the city to move forward with hiring for existing budgeted positions in various departments;
• a resolution to reclassify a customer service clerk in the finance department;
• first reading of an ordinance authorizing budget amendments for the annual Think Green/Think Clean Litter Challenge;
• first reading of an ordinance authorizing and approving a Hold Harmless Agreement with Tennessee CVS Pharmacy, LLC, for placement of a sign within the city’s easement at the intersection of West Main Street and South Hartmann Drive;
• a resolution authorizing the commissioner of public works to modify the existing plans, obtain new permits, advertise for bids and acquire easements for the Wilson Creek Interceptor Sewer Phase I project in the Beckwith Road area;
• a resolution authorizing the purchasing agent to advertise for bids for a replacement roof for the public safety department;
• a resolution authorizing the police department to apply for a grant in support of the high-visibility law enforcement campaign.
City council will meet in a special called meeting Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Town Meeting Hall, located at 200 N. Castle Heights Ave. A work session to discuss the 2014-2015 city budget will follow at 5:30 p.m.