Director wonders if sales tax will really go to new schools?

6 News Reporter

LOUDON COUNTY (WATE) -- On February 5, voters in Loudon County will decide if they want to pay more in sales tax.

The extra revenue would go to Loudon County Schools and Lenoir City Schools.

In the past, some schools in the Loudon County School System have failed to meet safety guidelines.

The new dollars would help build three new school buildings in the county, plus additions to other schools.

When it comes to the choice of how Loudon County commissioners will spend the money for the school system, Director of Schools Edward Headlee says he's a little worried.

"As long as it goes to the school system, it can be used for anything," Headlee says.

The director says when the increase in sales tax was proposed, the talk was that it would be used to fund new buildings. But now, he says he heard one commissioner, who he won't name, is saying property tax will be cut if sales tax is increased.

"It would be no gain for the school system--just status quo," Headlee says.

County Mayor Doyle Arp says he doubts the commission won't spend the money on new schools.

"That's what we told the people. What we are going to do with it?" Arp says. "Under my administration, when we tell people we are going to use money for something like that, that is what we are going to do with it."

6 News also spoke to Commissioner Bob Franke, who says he hasn't heard anything about cutting the property tax rate.

Meanwhile, when it comes to passing a sales tax increase, it's been done in Loudon County in the past.

In 1998, voters approved an increase of 0.5 cents to 2.0 cents.

And in 1996, voters in the city of Loudon approved a hike from 1.5 cents to 2.5 cents.

Since the sales tax is already at 2.5 cents in the city of Loudon, people there won't have to worry about voting on the increase.