Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

December 23, 2013

County seeks revenue through bail bond tax

By Gary Nelson
Senior staffwriter

CROSSVILLE — County commissioners are seeking additional revenue sources to generate county funds.

Monday night, Cumberland County commissioners passed a resolution seeking sponsorship of legislation to amend a state law and allow counties to levy and collect a bail bond tax similar to what the state currently collects.

Resolution 12-2013-1 is a resolution to request sponsorship of legislation to amend Tennessee Code Annotated TCA 67-4-801, a state law which establishes imposes a state tax in the amount of $12 per bail bond on all bail bonds in Tennessee. However, this tax only benefits the state and no county or municipality has authority to levy any similar tax, according to the law.

Cumberland County commissioners, as well as several other county commissions across the state, are passing the resolution urging the change in the law.

“I think we should refer it to the budget committee to review,” Harry Sabine, 1st District commissioner, said.

He then made a motion to refer it to budget committee. Nancy Hyder, 2nd District commissioner, supported the motion, but it failed with only Sabine and Hyder voting in favor.

“Time is of the essence here,” Carmin Lynch, 9th District commissioner, said.

Lynch said if the county didn't pass the resolution this month and get it into the hands of state Representative Cameron Sexton, the filing time for bills would be closed and it wouldn't be able to be considered in the upcoming legislative session.

“We don't want to get behind the curve. This is the proper way to tell legislatures we're interested in other revenue sources,” Lynch said.

Sonya Rimmer, 8th District commissioner, said Sexton was aware of the resolution and he was checking into the subject.

Cumberland County Mayor Kenneth Carey Jr. told commissioners the resolution came from Jefferson County and they had approved it, as well.

According to the resolution, once approved, the county clerk's office is to mail a copy of the resolution to Cumberland County state representatives and state senators requesting their support.

Lynch moved to approve the resolution and Mike Harvel, 7th District commissioner, supported the motion. It was approved in a 15-1 vote. Sabine voted no.

Commissioners Caroline Knight, 2nd District, and John Kinnunen, 9th District, did not attend the meeting.