County schools to look at ways to enforce wheel tax

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Rutherford County’s Health and Education Committee asked the county school system last night to look into accepting vehicle registrations as part of its residency verification requirement.

“There are certain citizens out there who aren’t paying (the county’s wheel tax) and that’s certainly unfair to those who do pay,” County Commissioner and Chairman of the Health and Education Committee Bob Bullen said.

Because of the current economic climate, the county is looking at any and all ways to boost revenue, without raising taxes. Commissioner Jeff Phillips said the county is in a “tight budget situation” and more revenue is needed to support local schools.

The school system agrees the revenue is needed, but doesn’t want to commit to a new role as wheel tax enforcer.

“We don’t want to put up any barriers to keep parents from enrolling their children in school …” RCS Community Relations Coordinator James Evans said. “But we want them to be tax payers, too, and not have someone else paying for the education of their children.”

Evans said the Board of Education will discuss the issue in the coming months, after the Health and Education Committee passed a motion last night asking it to.

The motion asks the board to look at the feasibility of including vehicle registration as part of residency verification each year.

RCS Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Don Odom said the school system usually takes utility bills and accepts out-of-county students for different reasons.

“We are only approaching the group that are circumventing the law, not law abiding citizens,” Phillips said.

The Health and Education Committee then discussed other options, like requiring students who drive to submit proof of registration when getting a parking pass or allow the county’s wheel tax officer to patrol high school parking lots.

Michelle Willard can be contacted at 615-869-0816 or
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Economy, RCS RuCo
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Members Opinions:
February 25, 2009 at 6:57pm
I fully support any endeavor that will ensure those using county service i.e. Schools, etc are paying the taxes into the county to support these services. With the state of automation and the availability of online information sharing, this should not be a problem. There is nothing wrong with having the parent supply a current vehicle registration displaying Rutherford County as the residence when registering a student in a RC school.
February 25, 2009 at 7:14pm
The schools have enough to worry about without having to do policing for the county clerks office. This is a job for the sheriffs dep't.
As for cars with out of county tags seen picking up students, perhaps some of them are relatives that reside in other counties that are picking up neices or nephews or grandkids.

I know that I have picked up a friends kids at Seigel on a few occasions and I have a Dekalb County tag.
February 25, 2009 at 8:05pm
What happens if someone does not own a personal car? I know people who have company owned cars that are registered out of state. Hell I am one of those people. Get real. Here is an idea. Cut your damn spending. Everyone else has with the exception of our government at every
February 25, 2009 at 8:35pm
Right on Alaska Dave, I can't add any more to that.
February 25, 2009 at 8:52pm
I think TAGS in Rutherford County SUCKS. The Wheel Tax was a temp measure to put roofs on Oakland and Riverdale. How many years does it take to put a roof on a building? We have paid for those roofs 5 times over... but now the money is ear marked and probably doesn't even go to the schools but in the general fund. Tax and spend it is all the county knows. I just got a 50% pay cut and I am not on the stimulus payment plan... I have 5 cars registered in Rutherford County and only two drivers in the house. (When you drive OLD cars you need more than one, but then if I had a new car I couldn't afford the insurance!)
February 25, 2009 at 9:03pm
Let see.. We CAN'T ask for proof of citizenship in order to send a child to a Ritherford County school but we can ask for vehicle registration. What a freakin' mess.
February 26, 2009 at 8:13am
What about people who don't have children in school. Guess we make up for those who have kids in school. Those parents going out of county for tags are probably struggling and are finding ways to make ends meet. Perhaps the schools should evaluate their spending habits.
February 26, 2009 at 8:33am
Should I mention that not all people have cars.
February 26, 2009 at 11:57am
Isn't there an address on the vehicle registration? Do all of the neighboring counties have clerks who don't care? Regardless, I don't think it should be the schools' job to police license plate registration.
February 27, 2009 at 2:38pm
"Do all of the neighboring counties have clerks who don't care?"
If you walk into any clerks office (including Rutherford County), and want to give them money, they will take it.
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