Dale Merritt

Dale Merritt

Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto recently announced that a small group of people from Leadership Wilson will help to educate the public about the sales tax increase that will be on the ballot in March.

Dale Merritt is a key accounts coordinator at Middle Tennessee Electric and currently in the Leadership Wilson program. Merritt and five others in the leadership program have chosen referendum education as their project.

“The last time the referendum was on the ballot it was so rushed. There wasn’t much information out there,” Merritt said. “We aren’t involved in marketing for the sales tax. We aren’t advocates. That was one of the key directives when we (the Leadership Wilson group) started talking about this.”

Merritt said that the six group members are merely trying to explain the sales tax’s implications.

“We are simply saying, ‘here’s what happens if it passes — where the money goes. And here’s what happens if it doesn’t,’ ” he said.

Merritt said that social media will be one way the group members get out the facts, with the other just being old-fashioned face-to-face interaction.

“We are in civic organizations, the Chamber (of commerce), the Rotary. We will be speaking to those groups, talking to people individually too,” Merritt said.

Merritt said the consensus for choosing sales tax referendum education for their project was worthwhile because education “is a high priority for the county.”

The half-percent sales tax, if passed, would increase the current rate from 9.25 percent to 9.75 percent, adding 50 cents more tax on a $100 purchase. 

Language on the ballot would require that any portion received by Wilson County go towards teacher pay raises.

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