Cleveland Council rejects resolution to drop appeal on sales tax

Cleveland Council rejects resolution to drop appeal on sales tax

May 15th, 2012 by Randall Higgins in News

Cleveland Councilman George Poe

Photo by Randall Higgins/Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - The Cleveland City Council on Monday rejected a resolution that would have ended the sales tax lawsuit between Cleveland and Bradley County.

Councilman Richard Banks introduced the resolution for the city to drop its appeal after a local court upheld a unique 1967 revenue-sharing agreement between the two entities. The resolution lists city-county joint endeavors, including industrial recruiting and jointly funded projects such as the public library and the Museum Center at 5ive Points. It also lists ongoing joint projects including future development at Interstate 75's exit 20 and development of a new industrial park.

Banks said he feared that, if the agreement is done away with, Bradley County would ask for in-lieu-of-tax payments from Cleveland Utilities, something the county gave up in the 1967 contract.

Banks, George Poe and Dale Hughes voted to end the legal fight.

"The county sued us, right?" Councilman Charlie McKenzie reminded the others.

It is that local Chancery Court decision upholding the county that the city is appealing.

McKenzie, Bill Estes, Avery Johnson and David May voted against the resolution.

"We will continue to work with Bradley County," City Manager Janice Casteel said. "We owe it to the people."

In other business, the council voted its support for a resolution approved last week by the Cleveland Board of Education backing a wheel tax referendum that would benefit city and county schools.

"This is about more than a school on the north side," Estes said. "It benefits every school."

The vote was 6-0 to support holding the referendum. Poe voted to pass.

"Nobody has said to me they want a new tax," Poe said.