Pleasant View voters will have the opportunity in the coming months to voice their opinions on a plan for a half-percent increase to the local sales and use tax. While Cheatham County commissioners decided in a specially-called meeting May 10 to no longer pursue the proposal countywide, Pleasant View Mayor Perry Keenan said the issue was expected to be on the city’s ballot in August or November.
According to Cheatham County Mayor Kerry McCarver, commissioners voted eight to zero in the specially-called meeting in favor of rescinding the April resolution for a referendum on the August ballot which would have raised the local sales and use tax from 2.25 to 2.75 percent. The resolution stipulated that half the money raised would have been earmarked for the county’s education debt services, McCarver said.
“Only voters in the unincorporated areas of the county and Pleasant View would have been able to cast their ballots on the issue. People in other cities in the county - Ashland City, Pegram, and Kingston Springs – would not have been able to vote on the plan. The local sales and use tax in those cities is already set at the maximum rate allowed by law - 2.75 percent,” he explained.
When asked about the reason he thought the referendum proposal was rescinded, McCarver said, “I think the real underlying current on why the measure didn’t move forward is that if it had passed, cities at the maximum rate would not have had a say in where the funds would have gone.” The money involved would have been significant and would have left communities looking for other sources of revenue, he stated, at approximately $17,000 for Pegram, $70,000 for Kingston Springs, and $350,000 for Ashland City.
While the county is no longer looking at sales tax options for raising revenue for new schools, the conversation on growth is now more in focus, McCarver added. “We need new schools, and we know we need to work on how to get funding for them without a sales tax or property tax increase.” He said the next area that county leaders will likely look at would be residential impact fees, with discussion expected in the late summer or early fall.
As far as the town of Pleasant View, if voters approve the referendum when it comes to the ballot in either August or November, the increase could bring in over $300,000 extra per year, according to Keenan.
“Since the city does not have a property tax, the funds would be vital for more road improvements, improving our parks, more police service, and other infrastructure needs,” he explained.
“Our revenue is based off of sales tax collected inside our city limits. It is the lifeblood of our financial success,” Keenan said. “It’s why supporting local businesses and getting new ones is so important to me. It’s also the reason why I have pushed hard for economic development.
“For every $1,000 spent by a family in Pleasant View, this half-percent increase equates to an extra $5 in sales tax collected, which doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up fast. And, because such a large portion of our sales tax comes from interstate travelers and people who do not live inside the city limits, our local citizens will get the benefit of more revenue without paying the entire amount themselves,” he added.