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Hawkins County citizens sign petition opposing wheel tax

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MOUNT CARMEL, Tenn. - Hawkins County's wheel tax increase may be in jeopardy. Residents opposing the increase are signing a petition to put the tax up for a referendum.

The state comptroller's office told Hawkins County in May it would take over the budget if they didn't balance it.

The county has cut nearly $340,000 from the budget, but resident Hal Trent wants more cuts instead of a tax increase.

"They're not even making the cuts that the comptroller has even told them to do," Trent said as he took signatures for the petition in Mount Carmel Friday. "As far as cutting their pay at the last meeting, they wouldn't even do that. That was the first thing he mentioned he would do if he came in."

The proposed $40 increase brings the wheel tax to $96.

Trent must have at least 1,095 signatures to put the wheel tax to a vote this fall. He thinks he's already reached that level.

"So many elderly people, some say maybe that month they may have to do without their medicine, maybe have to do without food, to buy their tags where they're just not able to save the money," Trent said.

Trent will be taking more signatures in Rogersville tomorrow before taking the petition to the election office Monday.

If the tax is shot down in a referendum, the county will need to increase property taxes.

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