Countywide Sales Tax Vote Could Hurt Municipalities

(Shelby County, TN) As a countywide sales tax is headed to a vote, county municipalities are watching closely.

The cities of Germantown, Bartlett, Arlington, Lakeland and Collierville will not get to vote on the countywide sales tax increase come November, because those cities already voted on the same issue earlier this month according to state law.

If voters in the county approve the sales tax increase, it would set aside the tax increase the suburbs approved to fund their school districts, therefore cutting into their funds.

“There are a lot of people who are in Germantown who are upset about what they see as a bait and switch. That the county commission said no, we don’t need that half penny. Now they are coming back,” said Germantown School Board Member Ken Hoover.

Hoover said Monday that Germantown was hoping to raise 2.4 million with the half penny sales tax increase.

They will now have to make up some of that money.

“What I hear is, it will come from the general fund. Whether that means any sort  of increase in a property tax or cutting expenses in other parts of city government, I don’t know the answer to that,” said Hoover.

In Bartlett, Mayor Keith McDonald said if approved, the county-wide sales tax would take away the Bartlett School District’s cushion, “It was another 1.8 to 1.9 million dollars that we were going to have that we can set aside.”

Both Hoover and McDonald said they have doubted the commission’s intentions.

“It makes me wonder and now I’m becoming more and more sinister with this group of people. Did they plant his out? Was this something they saw and out maneuvered up us?” said McDonald.

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