Greene County commissioners voted to raise the tax rate for property inside the Town of Greeneville.
Commissioners approved the tax increase in a 12-9 vote on Monday.
The tax rate was raised 16 cents, making it equal to the rate on property outside the town, according to Commissioner Robin Quillen.
The property tax hike was included in the budget the commission passed Monday evening.
For decades there has been a difference between county and town property taxes, but now that will change.
Commissioner Bill Dabbs voted against the tax hike.
“I was opposed to the tax increase in any form. I feel like there were other ways it could be done. Once tax increases happen, have you ever known a tax to go down? Ever known them to stay the same? No. They’re always increasing. They never decrease. Sixteen cent tax increase I think that it would generate between a million to a million six hundred thousand.”
Before the tax increase, if you lived outside the city limits you were excluded from paying County School Capitol Debt Services.
Greeneville Town Administrator, Todd Smith, says that the money from the tax increase will now go towards county schools.
“So essentially the City of Greenville residents is going to start paying for county school debt. It’s designated per Tennessee code to go back to the school system. That could go towards debt. It could go towards capital projects,” said Smith.
He said that the Town’s Board of Alderman weren’t in favor of this equalization of tax rate, but now hope that some of the money can go back to the city school system.
“There’s going to be a split disbursement back to our city school system of what looks like about 2.8 million dollars. There needs to be a disbursement of the money going back to our city school system because of the outstanding school indebtedness,” said Smith.
Smith adds that there still needs to be negotiations between the county and town to decide how that money will be distributed.
The Greene County Commission joins other county leaders trying to move forward with property tax increases this year.
Most recently, the Sullivan County Commission approved a seven-cent property tax increase during the first reading of budget proposals. The proposed budget now moves to public comment June 25th, ahead of a second meeting by commissioners.
In Elizabethton, a proposed budget includes a six-cent increase. The city council will meet June 27th for a second and final reading of the budget before its official.