Tuesday night the Lebanon City Council once again passed an ordinance on first reading to raise the local sales tax by 0.5 percent and request a referendum on the matter, after a public notice mistake prevented the previous vote.
Initially, the measure was approved on Feb. 21, but City Attorney Andy Wright discovered the city did not comply with a state requirement about issuing a public notice. The city did not publish a notice in a local newspaper at least seven days before the initial vote, as is required by state law.
As a result, the council voted to rescind the Feb. 21 vote on Tuesday and then approved the ordinance once again. The Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury must approve the ordinance before it returns to the council for a second reading.
The proposal would raise sales taxes by 0.5 percent from 2.25 to 2.75 percent, making those who shop within the Lebanon City Limits pay 9.75 percent in sales taxes, the maximum allowed by the state. If the council approves the ordinance on second reading, the Wilson County Commission has a 30-day window to pass its own ordinance, in order to split the 0.5 percent increase with the city.
A special election must be held in order for the people to cast their votes in a referendum, which will ultimately decide the fate of the sales tax increase proposal.