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Coffee County Schools Sue Tullahoma And Manchester For Back Taxes

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Coffee County Schools Sue Tullahoma And Manchester For Back Taxes

CREATED May 30, 2014
by Aundrea Cline-Thomas

MANCHESTER, Tenn. - Mixed drinks are at the center of a lawsuit filed by a local school system. The Coffee County Board of Education is suing the cities of Tullahoma and Manchester after alleging they owe half a million dollars in back taxes.

“They definitely could use that money in our schools,” parent Sara Barnes said.

“Computers, the sports projects, books, anything that they would need it would be great,” parent Shannon Warren added about the money could be used.

The county is attempting to recoup a total of $525,000 back taxes from the cities of Tullahoma and Manchester, dating back to the 1980’s when mixed drinks were first permitted.

“And it passed on the premise that this is going to be great for the kids,” Coffee County Schools attorney Eric Burch explained.

Tennessee code requires a portion of the taxes generated from the sale of mixed drinks to go back to the cities that collect them. A portion of those proceeds are to be used for education.

“It's black and white. It's a black and white issue,” Burch said.

He argued that Coffee County Schools are also entitled to some of the money the cities in the county generate.

“You go by the number of students each school system... About 55 percent of students in Coffee County attend the Coffee County Schools,” he said.

Tullahoma city leaders, who are being sued for $387,488, said the city doesn't owe a penny. They said the law only requires its taxes go to the Tullahoma City Schools.

“They should've been on top of it I guess in the past,” Barnes said.

In addition to the back taxes, Coffee County Schools are also seeking interest on those payments.

The lawsuit was just filed Friday morning and lawyers with Manchester and Tullahoma will have thirty days to respond.

City leaders in Manchester did not return NewsChannel Five’s call for comment.

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