Many Nashville residents and business owners are about to see a double whammy in cost increases for living in Davidson County. But Mayor Megan Barry said Monday that there are ways to soften the impact.
Speaking to the Rotary Club of Nashville, the mayor announced that she will not be seeking a property tax increase in the coming budget.
“Did you hear me?” Barry joked. “Let me repeat … there will not be a property tax increase this year.”
Specifically, the mayor is promising not to touch the tax rate, which is half the formula that determines a tax bill. But the other half is property value — and in April, the ongoing property reassessment will increase values quite a bit for many Nashvillians (an average of about 30 percent, the mayor said).
That means tax bills will rise for many. So the mayor said it’s the least she can do to hold the tax rate steady, especially as other tax revenues grow in the city’s development boom.
“We’re not going to put that extra burden on Nashville’s residents and businesses right now,” she said.
Barry said Metro is also asking churches and neighborhood groups to spread the word about little-known types of assistance. Senior citizens can freeze their taxes, for example, and residents with disabilities or military service can request reductions.
“And you also have the ability to appeal. So if your assessment is something you don’t think is right, you can do the appeals process … so we absolutely highly recommend that people do that,” she said.
Those measures will cushion some.
But the mayor also revealed details on a higher stormwater fee. She said Metro needs more funding to handle rain and lessen flooding, and that the fees set in 2009 are not keeping up with resident needs.
Her proposal would more than double the annual revenue available for stormwater projects and staffing in Metro Water Services.
“Stormwater continues to be one of the biggest concerns of council members,” Barry said. “Many of them hear about problems from their constituents on a regular basis.”
As proposed, the fee would not increase for owners of small homes, while larger property owners would bear a larger share of the change. The measure goes to the Metro Council in February and could be effective July 1.