Council approves ordinance designating one-half percent of sales taxes collected for school system

Published 10:39 am Friday, July 14, 2023

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Star Correspondent

The Elizabethton City Council on Thursday approved an ordinance designating one-half percent of sales taxes collected in the city for the school system.

In 2008, the city approved that a half-cent be added to local sales tax, raising it from 9.25 percent to 9.75 percent. At the time, the arrangement was for the school system to receive the half-cent sales tax for 10 years and use the funds for capital projects. The school system, however, has continued to receive the funds, which it has used to make payments on bonds.

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On Thursday, councilmen unanimously decided to pass an ordinance to make the agreement permanent.

Mayor Curt Alexander noted that the ordinance would be permanent unless a future City Council reverses or amends the decision.

“I think this is important,” Councilman Richard Barker said.

Director of Schools Richard VanHuss thanked council members for approving the ordinance. He said the sales tax is not a burden for property taxpayers in the city.

About $15 million in capital projects have been fully or partially funded through the half-cent sales proceeds since 2008, according to information provided by Elizabethton City Schools.

Since 2008, sales tax revenue has paid for four classrooms, a new gymnasium, new windows and exterior doors, cafeteria renovations, secure vestibule and entrance and expanded parking at East Side Elementary School.

Work at Harold McCormick Elementary School has included a new roof, elevator installed, secure vestibule and entrance, renovation of 13 classrooms, cafeteria renovation, restroom renovation and HVAC rooftop unit installation.

Four classrooms have been added at West Side Elementary School, as well as a new gymnasium, new windows and exterior doors, cafeteria renovation and secure vestibule and entrance. The proceeds have covered new softball and baseball fields, new roof, restroom renovations, new secure vestibule and entrance and stadium grandstand demolition at T.A. Dugger Junior High School.

Work at Elizabethton High School has included a new roof, new secure vestibule and entrance, new stadium, new music wing, track resurfacing and new athletic training facility. Funds have also been used for the central office building and old hospital property excavation.

Elizabethton’s sales tax rate remains at 9.75 percent in 2023.

Council members will consider the ordinance for a second reading and public hearing in August.