CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The mayor of Clarksville has proposed raising property taxes by 20-cents to pay for a transportation plan.
“I recognize it’s a bitter pill to swallow for some people who say I’m going to pay more in property taxes, we are determined to say if you invest, here is what you are going to get, here is the map, the projects, the timeline, so we’re not just raising property taxes to fund general government,” said Mayor Joe Pitts. “We are proposing this increase to go specifically into the transportation plan.”
The mayor said with a growing city, traffic was one of the main concerns raised by Clarksville residents.
“We are not unlike every city and county in Middle TN. We are experiencing explosive growth. Projections are we are going to add another 90K people in the next 20 years,” Pitts explained. “What traffic concerns we’ve got now are only going to be exacerbated, aggravated by those additional people here. That’s a great problem to have.”
The current property tax rate in Clarksville is about $1.03 and he proposed raising the rate to $1.23. He said the new rate would still be lower than that of Murfreesboro, Knoxville and Chattanooga.
“It would be irresponsible of me if I presented a plan without a way to pay for it,” he said. “We haven’t had a property tax increase since 2015, that was a very minimal increase, we haven’t had a substantial increase in over a decade.”
Pitts explained that the Transportation 2020+ would pay for projects in every ward, including sidewalks, bridges and pedestrian crossings. The dollar value of the total plan is almost $500 million.
“We asked ourselves the question, what are those projects that will have the most immediate impact on traffic. When I say immediate, I’m not talking about next year,” Pitts said. “It’s going to take 5-10 years, once we say go and they are planned, to get them done. not all of them, but many of them will, so really there is no magic about 13, but those are the 13 projects we think will have an immediate impact on traffic.”