GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL)- Greene County Commissioners passed a 30% property tax increase in a 12-9 vote on Monday night. Residents will see a 38-cent increase next tax season.
The Greene County property tax rate was previously $1.27 per $100 of assessed value, but the vote raised the rate to $1.65 per $100. The revenue from the increase will go to county employee raises, but some locals say they are overwhelmed by the increase.
Greene County Landowner Inga Oaks told News Channel 11 that she estimates seeing a $350 increase in her taxes this year.
“I think it’s important that we all agree upon it and if it means taking that vote, we all need to take that vote,” said Oaks.
The tax increase will provide raises to almost every department in Greene County, including the Highway Department, Sheriff’s Department and EMS.
“The starting pay is going up, right now it’s $14 for a paramedic and it will go up to $17,” said Greene County EMS Director Calvin Hawkins. “We went up $3 on the hour”
Hawkins also added that with a short staff, they have had to cut back on some of their services.
“We were running seven 24-hour trucks and we dropped to six 24-hour trucks, so that’s taking a truck off each shift for 24 hours,” said Hawkins. “Calls back up and we have wait times, so if you have an emergency, then you might have to wait for an ambulance to come get you.”
But Hawkins said the extra money generated from the increase will be used to provide better services to the community.
“That’s the services they’re getting out of this tax increase,” said Hawkins. “Do they want an ambulance service? Do they want law enforcement? Do they want the roads paved? Do they want their trash to be dumped off?”
Even with the raise, the Greene County property tax rate is reportedly still one of the lowest in the state. According to officials, the raise for county employees could be seen as early as the next pay period.