Question of Wheel Tax Raises Lively Debate During Henderson County Commission Meeting

The Henderson County Commission is pictured meeting in the General Sessions Courtroom on Tuesday, August 11, 2020.
Photo by: W. Clay Crook / The Lexington Progress

Article by W. Clay Crook-

The Henderson County Commission met on Tuesday evening, August 11, 2020 in the General Sessions courtroom of the Criminal Justice Complex. Prior to the commission meeting, the Budget Committee met and heard a presentation from Finance Director Lee Wilkinson. Wilkinson said that in review of the budget and the conditions at the Henderson County jail, both an overcrowding situation is re-arising, as well as at least a $40,000.00 shortfall in the budget each month.

The shortfall comes from the fewer number of state inmates housed at the facility, but Wilkinson said that the Comptroller’s Office and auditors have advised against basing a budget on a flexible revenue stream, such as state inmates. Wilkinson said that the commissioners may need to revisit the question of a wheel tax in the very near future.

Henderson County Mayor Eddie Bray said that the measure would need to be passed in two sessions, and that the earlier it could be addressed, then the earlier that some of the one-time funds from the state could be utilized for other items, such as Sheriff Department vehicles or funding non-profits. The allocation for Henderson County will come to about $875,000.00

There was lively debate, with Wilkinson and commissioners Aaron Wood and Shana Duke making strong arguments. “We can’t just keep kicking the issue down the road like a can,” Duke said.

Commissioners Andy Anderson, Jeff James, Harold Tyler and Wanda Powers each expressed concern over the timing. “Now is not a good time to bring this up with so many people out of work,” said Powers, “and the people will be…

For complete coverage, see the August 19th edition of The Lexington Progress.

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