Being close to four relatively large towns has its advantages. But being nestled away just a 20-minute ride or less from Tullahoma, Winchester, Shelbyville and Fayetteville could also be costing Moore County and its residents much-needed tax revenue.
Take a straw poll of Moore County residents and ask what town their home address is in and the responses will likely be as varied as the straw in Moore County itself.
An easy example of this is that the physical address of Motlow College is 6015 Ledford Mill Rd., Tullahoma, TN 37388, yet the school’s own website says that “Motlow College’s main campus is located on 187 acres in beautiful Moore County.” Both are fact.
“We have eleven addresses in this county,” said Mayor Sloan Stewart at the Metropolitan Moore County Council during its November meeting.
The problem, according to Stewart, is that Moore County is potentially losing out on revenue and has been for several years. That could include business licenses, sales tax and vehicle tag renewals and registrations.
“When you have 11 addresses stretched out everywhere like we have, it could mess everything up,” Stewart said. “I guess I’m asking for advice or help for what we can do to help us keep our revenue.”
Stewart said he believed several businesses may be slipping through the cracks because Hatfield isn’t able to keep track of them like she did in the past.
“Up until 2010 the County Clerk’s office was in control of collecting local business license,” he said. “Each year, (County Court Clerk) Nancy (Hatfield) did a good job of tracking down businesses that had addresses in another county, but were here in Moore County and the other county was receiving our revenue.
In 2010, however, the state took over collecting business licenses, leaving Hatfield with little monitor except what comes through her door at the courthouse. She said that she only receives renewals on what she puts into the system, so if the business doesn’t come to her for a license she would not receive anything back from the state.
County attorney John T. Bobo asked if the state sends a report of itemized businesses and where they are located. Because they don’t, he said what county officials could do to address the issue is to see an overlay map of all the rural routes coming in to Moore County and identify where they are. Then it may take a little road trip with a little help from the deputies riding those roads to spot businesses.
That of course could be an arduous and time-consuming task.
“Some may be hiding in the back shed,” said Bobo, adding that it may take several of those rural road trips to track down any wayfaring businesses. Once the business was located and proven to be in Moore County, then the state could let the county know who is receiving the revenue from that business.
For the full version of this story, see the Dec. 19 print edition of the Moore County News. To subscribe, click here.