GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Greene County commissioners considered adjusting a previous tax hike during a meeting Monday, but the measure ultimately failed. They also considered providing more tax relief to elderly and low-income property owners and requiring volunteer departments to have an audit committee.
Greene County Commissioner Chase Murray seconded the motion to adjust the previous tax hike of $1.65 per $100 dollar assessed value to $1.48.
“We had a whole plan of how we were going to cut the money and still fund the departments,” Murray said. “I think the big catch tonight was over the pay raises for our employees that were in there, which were never going to be touched but I think a lot of people were caught on that.”
The resolution to adjust the tax hike did not pass during the meeting, the vote was 12 against to 8 in favor.
Other county commissioners like William Dabbs were against the adjustment. They felt it was too late because the budget for the new fiscal year was approved and started in July.
“I’m in favor of lowering taxes, eliminating taxes, whenever, however possible but this would have disrupted all of Greene County’s budget, the school system, the volunteer fire departments, the Roby Center, all of them,” said Dabbs. “It just wasn’t appropriate to me to do that.”
Dabbs told News Channel 11 that if the resolution had been presented during the first meeting he would have been in favor.
“It’s a difficult job to be on that committee, but I don’t believe that you can come in at the last moment and disrupt a $100 million dollar budget for $3 million,” said Dabbs.
Murray agreed that the timing of their proposal was off but he added that there wasn’t enough time during the first meeting. Murray said he hopes that moving forward he could present the plan for the next budget year.
“I take a lot of blame for this,” said Murray. “I sat there and waited on a longer serving commissioner to say something and to Commissioner Clemmer’s point tonight, we had a very short window of time to make anything.”
The resolution to provide extra relief for elderly and low-income families passed 21–0. The resolution will provide an increase from 60% tax relief money to 100% relief to property owners in need.
County commissioners also passed a resolution to require volunteer fire departments to have their own individual audit committees.
Greene County Commissioners will meet again on Sept. 18.