LAVERGNE, Tenn. – Residents in LaVergne took their anger over a recent property tax increase and water and sewer rate increase to a special town hall meeting called by the city's mayor and alderman Thursday.
City officials moved the meeting from City Hall to a nearby multi-purpose building to accommodate the large crowd.
Residents took to the microphone asking Mayor Senna Mosely and the city's aldermen about a property tax increase that effectively doubles the property tax.
The property tax rate went from 50 cents per $100 of assessed value. That is about a $125 increase for a $100,000 home.
Water rates increased by 40% while sewage rates went up by 60%.
"We have to get the sewer and water in these places before any retail is going to look at these place," Mayor Mosely said.
The city told Nashville's News 2, the increase was needed to prevent the water and sewage department from going broke.
"If you are asking me to cut into my budget $500 to $600, I want the city to cut into its budget," Carolyn Hickerson said.
Hickerson is a member of Concerned Citizens of LaVergne. The group is behind a movement to fight the increases.
Another resident accused the city of not cutting enough from the budget and forcing the residents to pick up the slack.
"We have people in this city going hungry hurting can't pay their utility bills are fearful of losing their house," one resident said. "$58,000 in Christmas bonuses [to employees] this year you know there are children who are not going to have a Christmas."
Alderman Tom Broeker told Nashville's News 2 despite many being against the increases which went into effect on July 1, the rate increase was necessary.
"As far as the taxes go they haven't gone up in 18 years. There are parts of the infrastructure that are deficient and we need to catch up," he explained.
Broeker continued, "I think that's one of the biggest problems is misinformation out there and we want to get that out to the pubic. [We] understand why they are upset. We understand the division but we want to move forward as a city."
Still the increases have caused residents to speak out, while others are working to do away with the city's charter.
"What that will do is get rid of three of the people up there who want to double your property tax and raise your water rates by 40% and sewage rates by 60%," Stan Glasgow said.
Glasgow is owner of La LaVergne Mini Storage and is circulating a petition to hold a special election to get rid of the charter.
"They are calling for projections of us growing to around 55,000. If we can't handle 32,000, it's going to be difficult to manage 50,000 in the next 20 years," Broeker said.