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Board publicly promises sales tax money to go to schools

The Collierville Board of Mayor and Aldermen has approved a resolution to use all money collected from the local option sales tax to finance the town’s municipal school district.

Board members voted 6-0 for the resolution Monday night during their regularly scheduled semimonthly meeting at the request of Alderman Tom Allen.

Last month, Allen submitted a request to place a resolution before the board stating that “all sales tax collected from the Aug. 2 election be placed in an escrow account and can only be used for municipal school district expenditures.”

“And,” Allen continued, “if for some unknown reason, a judge rules a school district void, the money will be returned to the taxpayers of Collierville as a property tax decrease.”

In response to his request, Town Administrator James Lewellen drafted a resolution.

However, some of the language used in Allen’s request was altered to comply with state law.

“Municipal governments cannot establish an escrow account for the purpose of distributing public funds,” Lewellen said. “A separate special revenue fund also does not apply in this case.”

Noting that the intent of the resolution is to “make a public promise” regarding the use of local sales tax money, Lewellen said the Board is not legally bound to the resolution.

The ordinance also states that, should efforts to create a municipal school district fail, the town’s sales tax rate will be decreased to make up for the recent half-cent increase.

On Aug. 2, Collierville voters approved a resolution authorizing an increase in the local option sales tax from 2.25 percent to 2.75 percent.

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