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The Coffee County Schools Board of Education voted Monday to send a letter to the cities of Tullahoma and Manchester seeking to negotiate payment of the $525,000 in mixed drink taxes allegedly owed to the system.
“I definitely think the intention of the board is to work with all entities involved and work through this together,” director of schools Dr. LaDonna McFall told the Manchester Times following Monday’s regular February board meeting.
The discussion follows an earlier meeting in which University of Tennessee County Technical Assistance Services program consultant Gary Hayes told the board that he believes that several cities in Tennessee had misunderstood state laws governing liquor-by-the-drink taxes.
Hayes had told the board that Tullahoma owes the county schools $382,394 and Manchester $149,154 for taxes from 1980 to June 30, 2013. According to the analysis he provided, the county government owes the system $2,853.
While holding back the actual content of the letter approved by the board in Monday’s open meeting until city representatives could read the letter, McFall said that the letter “basically says that based on the law and the Tennessee Code Annotated, this money is due to the school system and we are requesting receipt of these funds.”
During the board discussion, board member Brett Henley asked about a time frame for a response from the governing bodies.
“I think reasonably, [in] a month we should expect a response from them,” said Henley
“I would be good with 90 days; I just don’t want to sit with no response for an extended time,” Henley added.
Chairman of the Board Esther Sims said that the Boards of Mayor and Aldermen might not meet in time to discuss the money in that time, instead suggesting that McFall should oversee that aspect.
The board unanimously approved to send the letters without an amendment that would have added a response deadline.