Wheel tax hike approved in Greene Co.

GREENE COUNTY (WJHL) – Greene County commissioners took another step Tuesday night toward increasing the tax people have to pay if they own a car. A majority of commissioners voted to increase the wheel tax from $20 to $55 per car.

Commissioners said the increased wheel tax revenue is desperately needed to allow the county to pay its bills. Without it – the county mayor has warned massive cuts will be essential.

Tuesday’s vote was 17-3 to increase the wheel tax in Greene County. Despite the vote, there were plenty of signs a wheel tax increase is not popular.

Greene County resident Steven Stout said, “it’s going to burden everybody. It’s going to make it harder on everybody that can’t afford it. I think a lot of the commissioners are not voting in ways people in their precincts want them to vote.”

But county commissioners who voted for the tax increase said they have no choice. They said revenue projections are dire, and that without a revenue increase key county services would be impacted.

News Channel 11 spoke to Sammi Cooper of Greeneville who said she knows it’s the right thing to do. “I am for the wheel tax, because everybody needs to take responsibility and we are struggling in this county.” She said, “it will mean we won’t have to cut services that we desperately need and it will help boost our economy.”

So what’s next? The tax increase likely will take effect May 1st.

But that could change. If opponents of the wheel tax increase get enough signatures on a petition to overturn Tuesday’s vote. They have 30 days, and at least one commissioner told News Channel 11 he plans to put his name on that petition.

Copyright 2015 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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