Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis on Monday informed Bradley County Commissioners their resolution to call a referendum on the question of whether a countywide motor vehicle tax (wheel tax) should be levied for Bradley County can’t happen the way it is currently written.
County Mayor Davis said, “Saying you want to give an exemption to low income elderly using the list from the trustee’s office doesn’t include them all. There’s a lot of low income elderly in public housing. There are a lot of low income elderly that live in apartments. They are not property owners. I assume you want to give all low income elderly the same exemption, but it’s not addressed that way in your resolution.”
Commissioner and Education Committee Chairman Jeff Yarber brought the resolution to the commission as a request from the education committee. He said, “This is that slippery slope I was talking about. My thought process on that was to not use the trustee’s list but to use the process that the trustee has. The burden of proof falls on the individual.”
Commission Administrative Assistant Amy Moore said, “The resolution addresses the issues except for non-property owners. To gather names and data of those who qualify as low income elderly would require additional county staffing. The process would also include a request for reimbursement from the department that handles that and the additional paperwork would have to be processed.”
County Mayor Davis commented, “You don’t have to make a decision real quick. You’ve got time. What I ask is you all decide for sure what you want exempted, how you want to get them exempted, and maybe vote on that next week and let the attorney draw up the resolution. That way everything will be legal to move forward and get it on the ballot. This is a pretty legal matter as far as something going on the ballot and you just need to get it right and you’ve got the time to do it.”
Chairman Louie Alford stated, “This is probably the reason the state does not include exemptions. Once you start down that slippery slope, it’s hard to get stopped.” The resolution will be referred back to the education committee and then brought back to the commission once a decision on the exemptions and the proper wording for the wheel tax has been made."
An education committee meeting is scheduled for Monday at 6 p.m. in the commission meeting room.The finance committee will meet Friday at noon in the county mayor’s conference room in the post office annex.The road committee will meet at the Bradley County Road Department on Wednesday, March 7, at 9 a.m.
The Bradley County Commission will hold its next voting meeting next Monday at 7 p.m.