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County eyes tax increase for Expo Center
Feb 24, 2013 4:00 pm
Wilson County Commissioners will decide Monday whether to pursue a hotel and motel tax increase for the planned Expo Center.
“The expo center will be coming in front of the commission to see if they want to send a private act to the legislature that would allow us to increase the 5 percent tax to 8 percent,” said County Mayor Randall Hutto.
Monday’s measure is only a preliminary step in the process, though.
“They could do that and it still not be enacted,” said Hutto. “If it passes in the legislature, it still has to come back to the commission for approval to be enacted if they decide they want to build the Expo center and use the hotel/motel tax to do that. They could still decide to build the Expo center and not use the motel tax.”
Hutto said another option being discussed is asking the cities to drop their 2 percent tax so the increase is only 1 percent.
“The hotel/motel folks have said, ‘We are for an Expo center, but we don’t want to bear the total burden,’” said Hutto.
Another alternative funding option would be a private developer, but Hutto said it could be difficult to find a developer interested in investing.
While the commission will be addressing the Expo center Monday, another center will have to wait.
Cumberland Center plans are back on the drawing board.
“The Cumberland Center will not be coming before us [Monday] simply because the legislature said it could not be done on a public act; it would have to be done on a private act,” said Hutto.
A public act would change the state’s general law for everyone, while a private act would only change the law within Wilson County, according Hutto.
“I didn’t want to have the county commissioners vote on something that would’ve just not gone any further,” said Craighead. “I wish it was moving on the way that we originally presented it through City Council, but that wasn’t meant to be. Sometimes you’ve got to back up and maybe take some smaller steps.”
He said the city is working with a representative from the Greater Nashville Regional Council to develop a suitable private act for the legislature.
Commissioners Monday will also decide whether to expand the Wilson County border to include 17 residential properties in the Hickory Hills subdivision.
The properties, which are currently within Davidson County, are “landlocked” by Wilson County, so according to Hutto, Davidson County and the state approached the county about incorporating them into Wilson.
Hutto said all the county’s service departments reported back to him that they would be able to handle providing services to the additional properties.
If the commission approves the change Monday, they would then send it on to the state legislature for final approval.
Wilson County Administrator of Elections Phillip Warren will discuss voting centers with commissioners Monday.
“There’s an opportunity to change voting on Election Day to where instead of having a certain play that you have to go, it could be like it is on early voting where I could go anywhere I wanted to vote,” said Hutto.
The change could reduce the number of total voting locations while adding convenience to voting.
“If I was working in Mt. Juliet and lived in Lebanon, I could just vote down there [in Mt. Juliet] on Election Day,” said Hutto.
The Wilson County Commission will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the Commission Room of the Wilson County Courthouse in Lebanon.