CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — It could soon cost more to own property in Carter County.
Carter County has one of the lowest property tax rates in East Tennessee and is well below the state average.
“It’s going to be a fairly significant increase over what we currently pay,” Carter County Commissioner Aaron Frazier said. “We have some of the lowest property taxes in the state.”
The proposed increase is expected to generate up to $4 million for the county each year. Those funds will go toward raises for county employees and teachers.
Frazier explained that the county has been stagnant over the past decade in raises being administered for county employees. He said that this move would be much needed.
“We went about 12 years before I got on the commission with no county raises being administered at all,” Frazier said. “That kind of put us behind the ball and put us behind where we need to be.”
Frazier estimated that the tax rate would increase between 35 and 45 cents if approved. He said that nothing would be made official until June.
“When wages outpace what the county is charging in property taxes, something has to give somewhere,” Frazier said.
He acknowledged that raising property taxes may not be a popular decision among residents. However, Frazier said there are not many other options to generate revenue.
Frazier said that a wheel tax was discussed in the past. This is a fee put on newly registered cars to the county. He said this type of fee wouldn’t be as efficient because it can be raised for any reason at any time.
He said that the administration of most fees outweighs the actual profit that could be gained.
“It makes it not really a viable option,” Frazier said.