NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s no secret nowadays turning the key to that new home has come with a hefty price tag. While the initial costs can be staggering, it’s often the property taxes where many homeowners see sticker shock after several years.
Danny Herron said he has seen it all too often.
“Crisis. I think Nashville is in a housing crisis. People can’t afford homes,” Herron explained. “For those who have lived here and to be able to stay in their home, the options have not been to just move down the street, but to literally move hours away from Nashville because it’s gotten so expensive.”
Herron is the president of Habitat for Humanity in Greater Nashville. The organization believes a home is a “strong foundation on which the families who partner with Habitat can grow and thrive.” It’s the reason why advocates with Habitat for Humanity work to provide residents with a last roof over their heads.
However, Herron said property taxes directly impact their recipients.
“Just in the last few years when the tax increase occurred two years ago, the impact it had on our families. Sometimes the misconception is our families get the home free. They pay property taxes just like anyone else, but they also experience an almost $500 a year increase,” Herron said.
On Tuesday night, Metro Councilmembers unanimously voted to approve expanding the Tax Freeze Program. The program essentially “freezes” a homeowner’s property tax at the amount for the year they qualify, even if tax rates increase.
“For those who are 65 and older, it freezes their property taxes to a way no matter what happens in the future, they will not be any more than what they’re paying when they qualify, and I think for retirees and elderly people that have fixed incomes, I think this is a very good tool and a very good thing,” said Councilmember Zulfat Suara.
The program increases the income eligibility limit to $60,000, allowing more seniors to qualify.
In order to apply to the program, you must be 65 years old or older. The resolution, pushed by Councilmember Sean Parker in District 5, ended Tuesday, with each councilmember listed as a co-sponsor in order to show a unified front in support of the tax freeze.
“Nashville’s going to continue to grow and we are going to continue to see appreciation, but this body I think will continue to do everything that we’re not growing on the backs of our vulnerable citizens, our lower-income seniors,” said Parker.
To qualify, homeowners must have been 65 by Dec. 31 of the tax year for which they are applying. To apply, an application can be found on the Metro government website.