RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Property taxes could be increasing for residents in Rutherford County.
Mayor Joe Carr plans to propose a 15% property tax increase to the county commission in the next couple of weeks and he’s not thrilled about it.
“[This is] How we’re going to resolve that budget and put Rutherford County on a strong financial footing going forward, so that we don’t have to do this again. I hate it, I really hate it, but unfortunately it’s necessary,” Carr said in video Q&A shared to social media.
How this will affect property owners varies to the property value.
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Carr gave an example to give perspective to the proposal. He said the average sale price for a home in Rutherford County sits at about $450,000, and with the proposed tax increase, this would raise the property taxes on a home of that value about $24 a month.
The mayor said this wasn’t in his plans during his first term as mayor but said this was the only option in reliving the county’s $64 million debt deficit due to the growth of the city.
“Every bit of this is a result of the growth that is required for the expansion of services which is included but not limited to schools, fire, EMS, law enforcement, all of these things require an expansion of services [as the] result of new people moving into our community,” Carr said.
The mayor noted that Rutherford County is the 42nd fastest growing county in the country and the fastest growing county in Tennessee.
With over 10,000 new residents calling the county home each year, along with 15,000 new students, he emphasizes growth this size can be costly, especially when residents factor in the debt deficit already in play.
“The reason why we’re in this $64 million deficit is because we have kicked, we Rutherford County, have kicked the can of growth down the road so many times for so many years, that it has accumulated, so now, here we are in 2023 with an over $64 million deficit,” Carr pointed out.
Carr added the Tennessee General Assembly said the only way to deal with this is to raise property taxes, but still recognizes it’s not an easy proposal to ask of residents.
“You know this is a hot topic, it should be, this is something I didn’t plan on wanting to do, it wasn’t my intention when I ran, and I had no idea, but you know what, this is where we’re at and I’m going to be honest and forthright, and we’re going to do this together,” the mayor said.
Carr said the hope is this proposal is approved now so the county doesn’t have to continue to raise property taxes every three to four years, adding Rutherford County still has the lowest property tax rate compared to nearby counties.
The county commission will still have to approve the proposal.