published Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Rhea County defers wheel tax vote

By Tom Davis/Correspondent

Poll
Should Rhea County have a wheel tax?

DAYTON, Tenn. — Rhea County commissioners have tabled a resolution to place a wheel tax on the August general election ballot, saying they wanted more information before taking the step.

During Tuesday's meeting, Commissioner Emmaly Fisher said, "Last month, we asked that the contracts be signed so we could get costs on the building projects. Has there been any progress?"

Commission Chairman Jim Reed said there has been progress, but, "We do not have any cost figures yet."

Commissioners have employed an architect and project manager to determine the cost of building a jail or a justice center. Estimates have ranged between $5 million for a jail and $13 million for a justice center, but officials emphasize those only are estimates.

Because no costs were available, the proposed resolution did not specify an amount for the wheel tax. The agenda item listing the resolution called for the tax, if adopted, to expire after 25 years.

In other matters, commissioners approved a resolution to use Tennessee Valley Authority impact funds to retire remaining debt on portable school classrooms and to fund bus transportation. Any remaining money will be placed in a special account to fund capital expenditures only on action by the commission.

"I think you did something good tonight," County Executive George Thacker said. "This is trying to plan for the future."

He pointed out that the money could be used to fund improvements needed for a new business or industry, and commissioners agreed with that assessment.

They also reappointed Commissioners Bill Hollin and Grover Parks to four-year terms on the Rhea Medical Center board of directors.

Tom Davis is based in Dayton. Email him at tsdavis@volstate.net.

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