Bradley Commission Opposes Bill That Would Allow Cities To Keep Full Liquor Tax Revenue

Monday, March 17, 2014 - by Hollie Webb

The Bradley County Commission on Monday passed a resolution in opposition to a current Tennessee bill, SB 1464/HB 1403, that would change the rules of distribution of the liquor by the drink tax.

Attorney Jim Logan, who is representing the Bradley County School Board in an attempt to gain money allegedly owed by the city of Cleveland, said the bill would repeal laws that presently exist. He said, "If this passes in the future, all money received will become the city's.

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The Commissioners previously expressed their support of the School Board through another resolution. The Board is suing the city for back taxes from the liquor-by-the-drink tax fund, an amount totaling over $700,000. According to its interpretation of state law (Tenn. Code Ann. Section 57-4-306), the Board believes this money is owed to the Bradley County school system.

The official Tennessee state website says, "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 city of Cleveland disagreed with the School Board's view. Multiple members of city government stated that because the city has its own school system, this law does not apply. 

The Bradley County Commission passed another resolution that approved a budget amendment request to fund the distribution of the liquor-by-the-drink tax. Commissioner Ed Elkins said this would further support the School Board in its choice to take legal action.

Also during the meeting, Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones announced the opening of the SPCA of Bradley County. This shelter will service animals outside of the Cleveland area.

Before the opening, the county had been in an agreement with the Cleveland Animal Shelter. However, the Bradley County Commission and the CAS had many budget conflicts.

Commissioner Peak-Jones said even though the contract with CAS did not end until Sunday night at midnight, two volunteers said the city had been turning away county animals. She said they were told to wait until Monday.

She said, "I find this disturbing."

 The following rezoning resolutions were also passed:

 Resolution 2014-11 to rezone from R-1 to C-1, property located at 4655 Georgetown Road

 Resolution 2014-12 to rezone from R-2 to C-2, property located at 6688 Waterlevel Hwy

 Resolution 2014-13 to rezone from FAR to C-2, property located at 5610 Georgetown Road



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