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City aims to spread word on sales tax vote

By Sara McManamy-Johnson [email protected] • Updated Sep 3, 2014 at 12:09 AM

Lebanon officials hope to further spread the word about the city’s special called sales tax referendum. 

The Lebanon City Council voted in March to hold a referendum to raise the local sales and use tax from 2.25 percent to 2.75 percent. 

The Wilson County Commission voted to opt in to the sales tax referendum and include the question on the county general election ballot, but the measure ultimately failed at the polls. 

The council voted to hold a special referendum in September instead of during the November election. Early voting begins Wednesday and continues through Sept. 18.

Former councilor Kevin Huddleston spoke to councilors Tuesday and raised concerns about how many residents even realize the issue is up for a vote since it’s being held separately from the November election.

“The word is not out,” said Huddleston.

He said many people don’t read the newspaper, so he asked council to a pass a motion to inform every resident. 

The council did not pass a motion, but Councilor Kathy Warmath asked Commissioner of Finance Robert Springer if a notification could be included in residents’ utility bills.

Springer said it could be done. He said bills are sent out in groups, with one group going out next week and another going out the following week, which means all customers would receive one before the referendum ends Sept. 23.

Springer agreed to see the notification was included.

In other business, the council passed the first of two votes awarding the construction bid for a new $1.1 million water and sewer operations facility. 

City officials voted to award the bid to Lebanon’s Steed Brothers Construction, which came in with the lowest bid at about $1.1 million.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, council members deferred adding specific design guidelines in the Lebanon Historic Preservation Commission section of the zoning district. 

The guidelines are based on those set forth from the Secretary of the Interior.

Councilors also deferred an ordinance that would streamline the purchasing processes for both budgeted and non-budgeted items.

In other business, the council:

• authorized a line-item transfer for stump removal at Cedar Grove Cemetery.

• authorized a line-item transfer for the Cedar Grove Cemetery to build a retaining wall to protect and prevent erosion of existing grave sites.

• bought and appropriated funds for a Channel-In-A-Box system for a city cable channel.

• approved a contract with Datamatx for utility billing.

• bought servers and racks for the MIS department.

• bought u-bolts and padlocks to lock down water meters.

• approved bids for eight trucks for the Gas Department.

• bought a mini-excavator for the Gas Department.

• bought a work utility vehicle for the Gas Department.

• appropriated funds to develop a documentary about the history and future of the Lebanon Municipal Airport.

• bought new radar units for the police department.

• approved a bid for the construction of the Wilson Creek Sewer Interceptor.

The council plans to schedule one or more work sessions to further discuss streamlining the purchasing process and to discuss payment options for the Water and Sewer operations building.

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