WASHINGTON COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – The news of extended low lake levels led to elevated emotions at a public TVA forum Thursday night in Johnson City.
The surprising announcement of at least a half decade of repair work didn’t just catch lakefront home and business owners off guard.
“Kinda shocked I guess,” says Washington County Assessor of Property Scott Buckingham, “a lot of people’s dreams and their livelihoods have been put into living on that lake, and they are there for one reason, because of the lake, and now they don’t have access to that.”
Buckingham says a lot of folks want to know how it will affect the value of their homes.
“We don’t know, it’s something new to us, too,” he says, “and we don’t know what direction we’re going to go in.”
“We would say that it’s inappropriate to take a lump of properties and just adjust them down, or up even, in the middle of a re-appraisal cycle, based on conditions nearby,” says spokesperson John Dunn.
Values are based largely on sales data, which will take time to accrue with the new conditions.
“Because there hasn’t been a lot of sales activity at this point to demonstrate that property values are being impacted,” says Dunn, “it would be hard to base new property values on any clear evidence at this point.”
Residents now want to know if there is any relief in sight for those paying taxes for lakefront property, that may see little or no water for over 5 years.
“We really feel for them, so we have got to come up with something,” says Buckingham, “a formula, a program is going to have to be put in place because we’ve not seen anything like this before.”
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