By CONNIE ESHThe Wilson Post
Problems with funding for a new Lebanon High are still ongoing, with District 25 Wilson County Commissioner Randy Hall declaring he didn’t intend to “go around” the Budget Committee, and the budget panel failing to schedule any discussion about the needed funding.
In a joint meeting in June, which included Budget and Education Committees as well as the Wilson County Board of Education, Budget Committee Chair Bernie Ash agreed to put the funding on the agenda for last night’s scheduled Budget Meeting.
However Ash said he didn’t receive the proposal for a wheel tax until after he set the agenda, so the only education issue on the committee agenda is the 2009-2010 school budget.
But on receiving the resolution, Ash added the item under new business to be discussed.
He also said he did not try to keep supporters from attending the meeting to discuss the issue as reported in the Lebanon daily newspaper, “I stopped by to tell them the meeting was at 7 p.m. not 6 p.m.,” he said. “I didn’t want all those people to show up when there wasn’t a meeting.”
He said he would vote to send the proposal on to the full commission although he really doesn’t expect it will pass there.
He said he knows LHS needs a new school, but he’s “not buying into the stuff about it won’t hold up another year. I’m not for a tax increase in the middle of the worst recession we’ve had since the Great Depression.”
Ash said he did a straw poll in his district, too.
“I asked 100 people if they would favor a $50 increase in the wheel tax for a new Lebanon High School. Sixty-two people said ‘No” and 28 said ‘Yes.’ To me that means they want me to vote no.”
He also pointed out that most of his district is inside the city limits of Lebanon.
Hall is more optimistic. He reported that he has a petition favoring the wheel tax with more than 200 voters signatures on it.
He added that his earlier statements about taking the proposal directly to the County Commission involved a misunderstanding on his part.
“I forgot the joint meeting was only a work session with no vote taken,” he said. “So now this has to go through the committee structure. My main purpose is to get funding to get the school built.”
Staff Writer Connie Esh may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.