GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Greene County has become the latest locality to raise property tax rates.

County commissioners voted 12–9 on Monday night to raise the tax rate by 38 cents, a 30% increase, for parts of the county outside Greeneville.

County Mayor Kevin Morrison cited inflation and employee pay as reasons why the increase was necessary.

“Inflation had caught up to us and it was our turn to decide whether we were going to try to compete and retain our employees because at the rates we were paying, we were not going to be able to get people to come in and fill those jobs at the rates that we were paying,” Morrison said.

But that doesn’t mean county leaders made the decision lightly, the mayor said.

“We don’t do things in a vacuum and we’re not without compassion for the people that are paying the bill,” Morrison said. “Unfortunately, there’s only two ways, really appreciable ways to bring in the amount of recurring revenue required to fund the budget.”

Those two ways: raise the property tax rate or wheel tax rate.

“But the good thing is, is that with the great sigh of relief, our first responders, the folks in the jail, and again, we had to do the same thing, basically that every jurisdiction around us has had to do.”

Greene County is not alone. Johnson City, Jonesborough, Greeneville, and Unicoi County are just some of the localities that have raised taxes recently.

“There’s a lot of consequences that we don’t want to experience. We can’t run around saying the sky is falling, for instance, but we also have to know there are serious consequences if we can’t keep our jails certified and we can’t respond in an emergency,” Morrison said.

In addition to the tax levy, commissioners passed a budget for the next fiscal year.

They also approved a resolution encouraging state and federal elected officials “to uphold the Second Amendment” and to refuse to consider “any legislation that restricts the unalienable rights guaranteed by the Constitution.”