Monroe County commission to vote on wheel tax increase

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MADISONVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – UPDATE: The Monroe County commission passed a resolution Tuesday night, which increased the county wheel tax by $25.

Original Story: The Monroe County Commission plans to vote on a proposed resolution that would increase the wheel tax.

The initial resolution proposed increased the wheel tax from $25 to $75. Commissioners voted to lower the amount to $50, which increased the tax by $25 instead.

In a Facebook post from third district county commissioner Chris Wiseman, the current $25 wheel tax goes toward school debt.

“In 2018-2019, the county will collect right at $850,000 from the current wheel tax of that $850,000 it all is applied to the school debt which is little over $3.7 million dollars,” Wiseman wrote in the Facebook post.

He continued to write that the county was paying more interest on school debt than principal until recently.

The Wheel Tax has not changed since 1993.

Larry Sloan, the Monroe County Clerk, said his first day in office was the first day the original tax was implemented 26 years ago and the community didn’t like the tax then either.

“They’re going to be upset because, you know, no one likes to pay new taxes,” Sloan said.

He said the controversy of the proposed increased tax revolved mainly around what the revenue would pay for.

“The additional $25 goes to the general fund, and some people have the misconception that we’re taking the money from the first wheel tax (away) from the schools. Well, we’re not. It specifies that it has to go to the schools,” Sload said.

The resolution states the tax would go to the general fund, but commissioners will be able to vote how that money is spent in the future.

Some residents opposed the tax increase because they believed it was a way for the county to recover costs spent out of the general fund for a new justice center.

Sloan also said many oppose the increase because Monroe County is one of the few east Tennessee counties with a wheel tax.

Other residents also said they don’t believe the wheel tax should increase because not everyone owns a vehicle.

The commission is also expected to talk about a possible property tax increase.

The meeting starts 6 p.m. Tuesday. WATE 6 On Your Side will update you with what happens.

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