By BEN DUDLEYThe Wilson Post
Even though only around 10 people showed up to Thursday night’s town hall meeting to educate voters on the referendum to increase the wheel tax, Larry Hubbard and One County One Future are still confident the vote will go their way.
The money from the increase will help build a new Lebanon High School and purchase land for a future Watertown High School. The referendum will increase the wheel tax by $25, bringing it to $50. It will be reduced back to $25 once the debt is paid off.
Hubbard was very sincere to his audience about the need to pass this referendum, even calling on some dramatics.
"I don’t want to see us on national television in a negative story," Hubbard said. "I know I can be a little dramatic at times, but if there was a fire at Lebanon High School, I’m not sure we could get everyone out."
Wilson County is the tenth largest school district in Tennessee, but is seventy-eighth in funding. Wilson County is also the second wealthiest county in the state.
Hubbard said that Bill Gates’ foundation came to Nashville recently and met with five superintendents, including Mike Davis. They want to invest in the school systems and give money to help support them.
"But they probably won’t choose us," Hubbard said. "If we won’t support our schools, why should they?"
In attendance were County Commissioners Annette Stafford and Chris Sorey, who support the referendum as well as the new school.
"Just the other night, I had a constituent call and chew me out," Stafford said, "telling me we didn’t need a new (LHS) and we didn’t need a higher tax. I told him to meet me at (LHS) at 9:30 the next morning.
"After he saw how crowded it was," Stafford said, "he was begging me for a new school."
One of the main thoughts expressed at the meeting was that people move toward new schools and with Wilson Central and a new Mt. Juliet High School, families have moved away from Lebanon.
Early voting began September 11 and will end Saturday, Sept. 26. Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Wilson County Election Commission on East Main Street, Lebanon; the Mt. Juliet Community Center in Charlie Daniels Park and the Watertown Community Center. Saturday hours are 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Election Day is Thursday, October 1 when polls across the county will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
"Our students are deserving of a new school," Hubbard said. "All we’re doing is building on a good tradition."