Cleveland City School Board Refutes County Claim On Liquor Tax Revenues

Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - by Tony Eubank


The Cleveland City School’ Board on Monday night rejected the claims from the Bradley County Commission and Board of Education that the city of Cleveland owes in the area of $700,000 in liquor by-the-drink tax funds to the Bradley County School system. 

Director of Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff reported to the board that the Bradley County School Board has hired Attorney James Logan to represent it in the procurement of the said funds.

“If they wanted liquor by the drink in the county, they should have voted it in like the Cleveland city residents did. It is very clearly written that the liquor tax collected from within the city stays within that city school system,” Dr. Ringstaff said.

He added, “Only counties with no city schools systems can get that money.”

Dr. Ringstaff said since the two school systems share the same attorney, Chuck Cagle, that if the board deemed legal representation a necessity it would need to hire an additional attorney, like the county already has. Board member Dr. Murl Dirksen said he did not think that the board should get involved since the letter of the law appears to be on its side. Dr. Dirksen added that he is also opposed to hiring an attorney if it is not needed because, “Why spend money that we don’t need to spend.”

The state of Tennessee official website states the following concerning the distribution of the funds collected via the liquor by the drink tax, “State law (Tenn. Code Ann. Section 57-4-306) requires the Department to distribute half of liquor by the drink tax receipts to Tennessee's general fund for education purposes. The law further requires the Department to send the other half of the liquor by the drink money to the localities where the taxes were collected.

"With respect to the liquor by the drink revenues that are distributed to the municipalities where the taxes were collected, state law requires those recipients to make further distributions of those funds in certain circumstances. According to state law, cities that do not operate their own school systems separate from the county are required to pay half of the liquor by the drink funds from the state to the county school fund.

"The Department does not oversee the distribution of liquor by the drink taxes after it disburses the funds to local governments. The Department generally has no oversight responsibility with respect to local government finances. The Department believes it has appropriately distributed the liquor by the drink taxes as required by law.”

The board also heard a proposal from Cleveland High seniors Austin Herink and Jonathan Terraro. The two students presented a plan to build a Raider Walk, a stadium entrance for the schools football team, as part of a project for their Leadership class. 

The plan is to create a walkway on the hill leading into the football field with monuments commemorating each of Cleveland High’s four state championship teams. The board approved the plan, with an estimated completion to be set for the fall of 2014. 

Dr. Ringstaff commended the two students for their vision and the senior leadership class as a whole, stating that many good ideas have sprung from the course, including the Cleveland High Raider statue. 

The Board recognized the employees of the month from Cleveland High School, bookkeeper Pam Geren and assistant principal Cliff Eason.  

The board also approved a resolution on buses, asking the General Assembly to eliminate or increase the caps on school bus mileage and age to enable districts to run them as long as they are safe and passing inspections conducted by the Department of Safety.

 




Upcoming City Council Agenda For Tuesday

Here is the agenda for the upcoming city council meeting on Tuesday: I. Call to Order. II. Pledge of Allegiance/Invocation (Councilman Grohn). III. Minute Approval. IV. Special Presentation. Proclamation “Luther Masengil Day” Presented by Councilman Chris Anderson V. Ordinances – Final Reading: PUBLIC WORKS AND TRANSPORTATION Transportation ... (click for more)

City Treasurer's Office Open Saturday On Last Day To Pay Taxes Without Interest Or Penalties

The city of Chattanooga Treasurer’s Office will be open on Saturday on the last day to pay property taxes without interest or penalties.   City Hall (101 East 11 th St.) will be open from 9 a.m. – noon . (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Always Been A Battleground Between Good And Evil

From the thousands slain in nearby Chickamauga Battlefield during the Civil War…  To the launching point of the Cherokee Indian’s Trail of Tears…  To the lunch counter sit-ins led by Howard School students — the only high school student sit-ins in the nation — during the Civil Rights Movement…  To Walter Cronkite calling the polluted Southern industrial town ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our 92-Year-Old Victim

It is with great pride, and far greater relief, that I can report a “caretaker” is far different than a “boyfriend.” A story out of Memphis earlier this week morphed into a virtual fireball that had such power it appeared on the front page on a London newspaper and other news outlets all around the world when it was reported by the Associated Press a 28-year-old man had assaulted ... (click for more)

Baylor Girls Lose In State Basketball Semifinals, 69-61

NASHVILLE -- The third time wasn't the charm for the Baylor Lady Red Raiders. Facing the Brentwood Academy Lady Eagles in the semifinals of the D-II Class AA girls state basketball tournament at Lipscomb University, Baylor came up short for the third time this season against the Lady Eagles by a 69-61 final score. It was a see-saw affair with seven ties and 13 lead changes, ... (click for more)

UTC Men Edge VMI in Double Overtime, 86-82

The Chattanooga Mocs picked up a crucial road win in thrilling fashion, 86-82 in double overtime, at VMI. Chattanooga improves to 21-9, 14-3 in the Southern Conference, while the hosts fall to 11-17, 7-10 in league play. “It wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination,” coach Will Wade said. “Good teams find a way to win, and we found a way to win. These were two highly motivated ... (click for more)