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Lebanon school board to discuss liquor lawsuit

Xavier Smith • Mar 17, 2017 at 3:39 PM

The Lebanon Special School District Board of Education will discuss its next action regarding a pending lawsuit with Mt. Juliet regarding owed liquor-by-the-drink taxes Monday during an 8 a.m. special called meeting.

The city of Mt. Juliet and the Wilson County school board approved an agreement between the two parties regarding the lawsuit earlier this year, but language excluded the Lebanon Special School District.

In the agreement, the city would agree to waive any and all future fees that are within their authority up to $380,000 that are related to building, renovation and development of new and existing schools.

In 2013, it was revealed many cities in Tennessee didn’t pay their portion of their liquor-by-the-drink tax to public schools systems that operated within those cities due to an oversight. Wilson County Schools and the Lebanon Special School District were among the school districts in Tennessee that were owed back taxes by cities.

The agreement also said Mt. Juliet would hold Wilson County Schools harmless against litigation or payment of funds to the Lebanon Special School District, which means Wilson County Schools would not be required to pay a portion of its settlement to the city schools.

Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty and Mt. Juliet Commissioner Ray Justice heavily debated the agreement earlier this year, with Hagerty citing past waived fees as reason for objection.

“We’re paying what we’re supposed to pay,” Justice said.

“We’re not supposed to pay it because we did a ton of waived fees that we’ve gotten zero credit for,” Hagerty said. “How many millions did we do in waived fees?”

Mt. Juliet city attorney Gino Marchetti said the figure on waived fees was closer to $950,000.

“We’re talking about a wash, basically, on that amount of money,” Justice said.

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