Bradley County Schools
800 South Lee Highway
Cleveland, TN 37311
Phone 423 476-0620
Fax 423 476-0485
A Vote for the Wheel Tax is a Vote for Kids. Questions?
Exactly what is the Wheel Tax?
This is an annual tax paid at the time one renews his/her car tag. It will be $32 per vehicle per year. It will be $16 per year for motorcycles.
Can the $32 Wheel Tax be increased by the County Commission any time it wishes?
The same process that was used to create the wheel tax would be necessary to change it. That is, either a super majority of ten votes or a referendum to the public would be required.
Can the Wheel Tax be used for whatever the County Commission wants?
The Commission has specifically voted on how this wheel tax may be used: $12 million for a new academic building for Lake Forest; $2 million for an eight-classroom pod at Walker Valley High School; $7 million for a Blue Springs Elementary school; and approximately $10.7 million to Cleveland City Schools (based on membership). The tax must be used according to this distribution.
Why can’t we just borrow money like we have in the past?
The County Commission does not have enough money in reserve to borrow more money at this time. A sluggish economy is partly to blame as everyone struggles to maintain services in the midst of lower income. As a result, we must rebuild its cash reserves before it can borrow more money. This means the county must have additional revenues in order to raise that reserve level.
Will this Wheel Tax service our existing debt?
The only money that will be used to service existing debt will be created through a reduction of the interest rate through which Bradley County receives its bonds. Over 20 years at 5%, we can service a $32 million debt. If Bradley County can achieve an interest rate less than 5%, the balance of funds can be used to pay down pre-existing debt. In addition, the money that will be received from Wacker beginning in 2014 can also be used to pay down the county's existing debt.
Can we begin building our schools immediately after passing the Wheel Tax?
As stated previously, Bradley County must rebuild cash reserves before being eligible to borrow more money. As a result, if the Wheel Tax passes, the county will begin to collect revenue in January 2013. It will take an additional 13 months to build enough reserve to borrow additional money. As a result, a bond cannot be issued before early 2014.
The United Way and Human Development Project web site has some surprising facts:
1. On average, the more education people have the longer they live
2. A 1 year increase in the average level of schooling in the community is associated with a 30% decrease in the murder rate in that community.
3. The median earnings of Americans 25 and over who did not complete high school are less than $18,500, while those who completed high school typically earn at least $26,000.
4. Education is the single most important factor in the determination of a person’s poverty status. Twenty-four percent of the adult population without a high school education is poor.
5. The less education a person has the more likely he or she is to be unemployed. A high school drop out is 4 times more likely to be unemployed as is a college graduate.
6. Among parents who have less than a high school education, only 13% of their children read proficiently beyond a basic level by 8th grade.