In a resolution passed unanimously Monday, the Bradley County Commission voted to waive its right for rehearing and accept the latest rulings in the sales tax case. The resolution also asks the Cleveland City Council to work with the Commission to work out how the money the current rulings say the county owes the city will be repaid.
Movement was also made Monday on another long-discussed issue as the Commission approved “Cleveland Bradley County Veterans Home” as the official name for a planned veterans home on Westland Drive. The motion was passed unanimously after brief discussion.
The passage of the county’s resolution to not apply for a rehearing could mean an end to the lingering sales tax issue.
The resolution was drafted by attorney James Logan, who is representing the county in the suit, and was made by Commissioner J. Adam Lowe.
“If the city of Cleveland accepts this motion and we approve it tonight, this stops,” 4th District Commissioner J. Adam Lowe said. “It stops and we move on.”
Lowe said the two governments have worked together for 40 years. The two governing bodies need to find a way to move beyond this issue, he added.
“Stopping the suit is what I want to do,” 7th District Commissioner Bill Winters said.
In the most recent ruling by the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Bradley County is required to repay the county school portion of the 2009 sales tax increase for the year in which the city was allowed to collect its own sales tax. This money was used on capital projects. A portion of these funds allowed the school system to complete the Bradley Central Fine Arts building.
Third District Commissioner Jeff Morelock was concerned that the Cleveland City Council may insist on having the money in all at once.
According to the resolution, “In the event the city does not accept this offer in a timely manner, the Commission authorizes and directs counsel to take such steps that are necessary to protect the interests of Bradley County and all of its residents.”
Logan said the goal of the resolution was to bring an end to the issue as quickly as possible.
The Commission had met with Logan for an attorney-client meeting prior to Monday’s voting session.
Also during the voting session:
- The Commission passed a rezoning request for land owned by the Bradley Veterinary Hospital. The hospital had bought an adjoining piece of land in preparation for the widening of State Highway 60.
“They are hitting us pretty hard. We’re going to lose about 30 to 40 percent (of our current property),” veterinarian Howard Hamilton said.
The Veterinary Hospital plans to rebuild the hospital on the adjoining piece of land to allow for better parking. The rezoning was passed unanimously.
- The Commission also approved the county employees medical benefits plan. According to Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis, slight changes to the plan have saved the county 4 to 4.5 percent over last year’s costs.