Ostiguys want lake wheel tax removed

Cyril and Jan Ostiguy spent last week in the exhibit building behind the Carroll County Civic Center at the Carroll County Fair giving locals the opportunity to sign a petition to take off the $10 wheel tax for the Carroll County 1,000 Acre Recreational Lake. The Ostiguys, who moved to Carroll County five years ago from Illinois, reside in the Humbles Chapel Church community, near Huntingdon.

“We obtained 349 signatures from Carroll County residents who pay the $10-wheel tax for the 1,000 acre lake,” said Jan. “Our goal is to present these petitions to the county commissioners and ask them to remove this tax.” 

She says she and her husband will present the petitions to commissioners at the Oct. 14 meeting of the County Legislative Body.

The petition asks county commissioners to pass a resolution to place a referendum on the ballot in the next voting cycle to remove the wheel tax for the lake.

Countians who own a vehicle now pay $55 annually for wheel tax. In 1976 the wheel tax started out being $10. In 2002, $10 more was added for the lake. In 2005, an additional $20 was added for the Highway Dept. and finally in 2009, $25 more was put on for the Sheriff’s Department.

The Ostiguys say the amount paid on the lake through the wheel tax has exceeded the $3,000,000 proposed in the resolution.

“We are asking them to stand by their promise to ‘we the people of Carroll County,’” said the Ostiguys.

The Carroll County Watershed Authority was established in 1984 through the efforts of Dale Kelley.

   A total of approximately $27,272,500 has been spent since the inception of the project and reduced to a total debt of $11,179,700 as of July 2019.  

The funding for the lake project includes state and federal grants and local wheel tax collections.  

“This project has and will continue to provide economic development and impact to Carroll County through events such as the Bassmaster Fishing Tournaments and the Dixie Triathlon,” said Kelley.  “The combined economic impact to the county during the first five years that the Bassmasters Tournament was held at the Thousand Acre Lake is estimated to be around $900,000 with visitors from 34 states and Canada.  The lake has also been beneficial to local school systems, Bethel University, and for military training.  As we continue to move forward with developments around the lake area, the economic impact will continue to increase benefiting Carroll County as a whole.”

  Recently, the Tennessee General Assembly’s Government Operations Committee recommended the extension of the Carroll County Watershed Authority for another eight years, based on their review of the Watershed activities and based upon the operation providing recreational activities, economic development, and business and industry development.

The vote on the $10-wheel tax for the lake on Nov. 7, 2000 was 5441 for and 4,851 against.

The wheel tax referendum that citizens voted on said: “Shall the County of Carroll increase the current motor vehicle privilege tax by $10 to fund the local thirty (30%) percent share of the total cost for developing and constructing the 977-acre lake proposed by the Carroll County Watershed Authority? The remaining seventy (70%) percent of the total cost of the lake will be funded by Federal, State, and other agencies. The ten-dollar increase would go into effect only after the permit for construction is granted by the U.S. Corps of Engineers. When the permit is granted, said increase would go into effect on the first (lst) day of the following month and will end on the 31st day of December following the retirement of the indebtedness of Carroll County for its share, i.e. thirty (30%) percent of the total cost for development and construction of the lake.”

Approximately $225,000 is collected each year from the wheel tax for the lake.

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