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Friday, June 30, 2017

Property tax reduction proposal fails to pass council.

After an attempt to reduce the Crossville city property tax rate failed to receive enough votes for passage, the city council went on to approve the third and final reading of the city's budget and tax rate.

Councilman J. H. Graham caught some of the council off guard when right at the start of the meeting he made a motion to waive the rules to take up consideration of the tax rate first at the meeting. The rule waiver was approved and Graham said that he would like to see the tax rate dropped from the state certified 59.05 cents down to 55 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Graham gave several reasons for the action, including current strong sales tax collections and people who talked to him during the election saying they wanted property tax reductions from increases and reappraisals. Graham estimated that the change would reduce the property tax collections by $172,000 for the coming fiscal year or $43,000 per tax penny. Graham added that the reduction could be funded from the city's current fund balance expected to be some $13.5 million at the end of the current fiscal year.

“I feel very comfortable that the City of Crossville is in great shape as far as the fund balance in concerned,” added Graham

Council member Pamala Harris seconded the motion and noted that the city had a lot of expenses with projects and capital outlay that even that amount of reduction in revenue could create problems in the long run.

Mayor James Mayberry said he was comfortable at the current time but added, “There are lots of things that we want to do that we haven't even got to. Economist are talking about potential downfalls and cyclical economy slowing down and our biggest income to run our community is off of sales tax but we have no control over that.”

Harris brought up the proposed special census as a way to increase revenue as well. Graham said that the increase in state shared taxes could cover the loss of revenue. Discussion on capital expenditures followed that are planned for the next year and part of the future capital spending plan.

City Council members discuss a possible property tax 
reduction during a June 29 called meeting.

After a some further discussion, the vote was called for and failed in a 2 to 2 tie. Graham and councilman Danny Wyatt voted in favor while Harris and Mayor Mayberry voted against. Council Scot Shanks was out of town and unable to attend the meeting.

Councilwoman Harris proposed a smaller reduction and moved to make the tax rate 57 cents for the coming fiscal year but her motion did not receive a second.

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With that, Mayor Mayberry moved that the city property tax rate be set at the state certified rate of 59.05 cents for the 2017-18 budget year. A second on the motion was given by councilman Graham.
The motion passed with 3 aye votes and Mr. Wyatt opposed.

Later in the meeting the council approved the full 2017-18 fiscal year budget at a $1.9 million deficit that will be covered out of the estimated $13.5 million fund balance. The budget motion by Mayor Mayberry was seconded by Mr. Wyatt and passed with four votes in favor. Council also unanimously approved the resolution for the non-profit donations.

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