BLOUNTVILLE — Hey, renters: Some Sullivan County commissioners think it’s time you’re given a way to “participate” in funding county government. Their answer: Impose a new tax on any and all for every car, truck, motorcycle and camper registered in the county.
During an “emergency” meeting of the Sullivan County Commission’s Budget Committee on Wednesday. Commissioner John Crawford of Kingsport raised the issue of a wheel tax as a new way to raise revenue for county coffers. Crawford took pains to say he wasn’t actually making a recommendation to do so, and he instead just wanted to get the option on the table.
Crawford said a wheel tax, in his opinion, would be more “fair” than a property tax increase as the County Commission looks to solve the county’s budget woes.
The new budget year begins July 1. Earlier comments during the Budget Committee’s meeting indicated a property tax increase of up to 30 cents per $100 of assessed value could be required to cover the county’s spending for the next 12 months.
Commissioner Cathy Armstrong, a Realtor from Bristol, spoke strongly in favor of County Commission action to implement a wheel tax in Sullivan County.
“I would recommend that we look at that before we raise property taxes,” Armstrong said. “A lot of folks rent.”
A 30 cent property tax increase would “severely impact” property-owning households, Armstrong said, while some other households have four or five cars and don’t pay property taxes. Armstrong conceded, however, that property costs — such as property taxes — are typically passed on to renters by landlords in the rent paid.
Read the full version of this report in Thursday's print or enhanced electronic edition of the Times-News.