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 firstname.lastname@example.org.