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.


DPD Seeks Suspects In Prescription Fraud Case

The Dalton Police Department is asking for the public’s help identifying two men who passed a fraudulent prescription for codeine cough medicine at a Dalton pharmacy. One of the men succeeded in getting the cough medicine on Nov. 4, but the second man was turned away when he tried using a similar prescription on Nov. 5. At least one of the men used identification information that ... (click for more)

Dalton Police Arrest Man For Aggravated Assault, Selling Fake Phones

The Dalton Police Department arrested Giovanni Esposito, 22, Sunday evening on charges of aggravated assault after he nearly ran over an officer and two other people attempting to evade capture in a car, said police. The incident began with a report that Esposito was selling counterfeit cell phones.   The incident began shortly before 4:30 p.m. on Sunday when Dalton Police ... (click for more)

Why Are We Allowing Poor Architecture And Urban Design Downtown?

   Over the past four decades our fair city has enjoyed striking improvements to our City Center and Northshore areas in large part due to citizen input and the guidance of the former Urban Design Studio. We are now widely recognized as a hotbed of entrepreneurship, neighborhood revitalization and good Urban Design. At the most recent City Council meeting, the leader and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Great Thanksgiving

In order for you to best understand this, last Thursday was the first Thanksgiving I have ever spent alone.  Don’t misunderstand, I had a fistful of kind invitations but I am the only remaining member of my immediate family around here and I guess I started dwelling on that a little too much as the holiday neared. Making out my “thankful” list helped, and I ate enough with ... (click for more)

Foster and Auriemma - Hall of Fame Coaches – Meet at McKenzie Arena Tonight

  A young basketball coach with lots of drive and knowledge but little money was in desperate need of a dependable car to get from home to work and back. A good friend gave his reliable $100 car to the coach and went out and replaced it with another $100 car. That same friend – also an up-and-coming coach – had also helped his brother a few years earlier by taking a ... (click for more)

Ryan Parker and Traneil Moore Are Mr Football Winners

Senior Ryan Parker of Baylor School and junior Traneil Moore of  East Ridge have been selected as Tennessee Titans Mr. Football winners for 2015. Parker is the D-II AA Lineman of the Year and Moore is the D-I 3A Back of the Year Ryan Parker - Baylor School ... senior linebacker/running back ... 2015 stats included 95 tackles, 30 tackles for loss, eight quarterback sacks, ... (click for more)