Metro Council approves budget including 34% property tax increase

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Davidson County property owners will need to prepare for a higher tax bill after the Metro Council gave final approval to next year’s budget early Wednesday morning.

The budget proposed by Budget Chair Bob Mendes passed around 1:30 a.m. after an estimated six hours of debate. The final vote for the plan, which includes a 34% property tax increase, was 32 in favor and eight against.

After midnight, the Council made the decision to increase funding for Metro police by $2.6 million despite calls to defund the department by community members and Council Members who tried to make amendments to the amount.

Officials said the money is needed to hire more recruits.

The budget also gives city employees a cost of living increase, $7 million more for Metro Nashville Public Schools and another $4.9 million to increase the minimum wage for district employees.

“It still is critical to me that we look at our teachers, who are educating the millionaires of tomorrow. We’ve got CEOs running companies who are making millions tons of zeros on their checks. They all went to school and were taught by teachers. It’s time to put our money where our mouth is,” said District 7 Council Member Emily Benedict.

Mayor John Cooper responded to the vote, saying this budget stabilizes Metro’s finances and helps the city’s essential services.

The large tax increase is something he said he wouldn’t have considered if Nashville was not facing it’s greatest financial challenge.

“The FY2021 budget process is proof positive that here in Nashville, we can still have collaborative working relationships in our politics. The end result, a budget built on compromise and full of tough choices, provides stable financial footing for our city’s future.”

Mayor Cooper.

Vice Mayor Jim Shulman thought meeting went well and everyone understood this was a crisis budget. He said he doesn’t think anybody really wanted the property tax hike but the budget needed to be balanced and city has a $330 million shortfall.

So how much more will you pay?

For a house appraised at $300,000, your tax bill will go up about $775 next year using the Metro property assessor’s tax formula. The actual tax amount would be just under $300,000 though assessment rates are higher for commercial properties.

The meeting ended around 4:15 a.m. Two weeks ago, the Council held their longest meeting ever at nearly 11 hours because of an overwhelming amount of calls asking to consider defunding Metro police.

The budget will go into effect on July 21.

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