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Council unanimously passes proposed sales tax increase

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By PATRICK HALL
The Wilson Post

Lebanon City Council approved on first reading an ordinance to raise the local Sales and Use Tax by 0.5 percent during their regular meeting Tuesday night, taking a step toward a public referendum on the issue.

Councilors voted 6-0 in favor of the ordinance to change the local sales tax from 2.25 to 2.75 percent. The current state sales tax rate is 9.25 percent and Lebanon and Wilson County equally split 2.25 percent of that total.

It gives the people a chance to speak, said Ward 1 Councilor Alex Buhler.

The proposed increase would give the city an extra 0.5 percent that only the city would collect, unless the county acts at a later date by passing its own ordinance.

The ordinance must now be sent to the Tennessee Comptrollers Office for approval according to City Attorney Andy Wright, who said the council has to vote on the matter again before a public referendum is held.

They (State Comptroller) have to give their okay on it for the ordinance to be valid, Wright told the council.

This sounds like a good idea, said Ward 6 Councilor Kathy Warmath about having a public referendum.

The council held little discussion on whether or not to approve the sales tax increase, but a second reading is required after the measure is returned to the council from the Comptrollers Office.

A special election would have to be held for the public to vote on the ordinance and the city would have to foot the bill for the election.

The next general election is held on Aug. 6 and Wilson County Administrator of Elections Phillip Warren noted the city would have to wait until July to pass the ordinance on second reading in order to attach the measure to the general election ballot.

Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at phall@wilsonpost.com.

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