By SARAH GRACE TAYLOR
Tuesday night, Thompson’s Station Board of Mayor and Aldermen will vote on their revised version of the County’s proposed interlocal tax agreement, but the decision of what to do with the town’s revenue may be up to Thompson’s Station voters.
A version of the agreement proposed by the county to increase the sales tax and then have each city give its share of the increase to the Williamson County Schools has been approved by every town in the county except for Thompson’s Station.
After a special meeting where they deliberated the agreement, the board will vote tonight on a version with a caveat. If the interlocal agreement passes, the county will then put the increase to a citizen referendum vote. If the referendum passes, Thompson’s Station will only give the revenue to the county if a majority of the town’s voters vote yes; if Thompson’s Station voters do not favor the tax but it passes in the county, the town will keep the revenue under the revised agreement.
“As we discussed at our meeting, we want to leave it to the voters,” Thompson’s Station Mayor Corey Napier said. “As the mayor of a town I can spend that kind of money in a lot of different ways so we don’t want to do something that might not be best for our residents.”
The money to which Napier is referring is the estimated $200,000 per year in additional revenue that the city would see should the sales tax be increased. For a town with new schools, members of the board believe such a revenue hike could be used for other town needs.
“We’ve not since I’ve been here and not that I know of before then ever raised the sales tax in Thompson’s Station,” Napier added. “If we’re going raise it now all the way, we need to make sure it’s good for the town.”
The proposed tax increase would raise the current local sales tax from 2.25 percent to the maximum 2.75 percent. According to Napier, increasing the tax to its limit and sharing the profits with the schools for three years is too temporary of a fix for the schools’ increasing debt.
“If we could agree to give this money for three years and then the schools’ would be fixed it might be different, but frankly it’s a Band-aid approach to a bigger budget problem,” Napier said. “The county schools are not getting out of the woods if we pass this and we need to take care of the town.”
The biggest concern Napier has about passing the agreement is making sure the town knows about it.
“If we pass this and the county puts it to a vote, it’s a big deal that our voters know what they’re getting into and that if they vote, we won’t be the ones in charge of the revenue,” Napier said. “Now I don’t know that it shouldn’t go to the schools, but the voters need to know what they are voting on with our agreement in place.”