Tax rates in Hamilton County may be going up

Tax rates in Hamilton County may be going up

August 1st, 2013 by Louie Brogdon in Local - Breaking News

Hamilton County assessor of property Bill Bennett

Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free Press.

Property tax rates may be going up in Hamilton County, as well as in seven of its municipalities.

Hamilton County Tax Assessor Bill Bennett presented the 2013 certified tax rates to county commissioners today during a regularly scheduled agenda session.

The overall county rate is certified at 0.0069 percentage points higher than last year, to a total of 2.7721.

But that increase only occurred because most appraised values went down. In Tennessee, the appraisal and tax rate process has to be revenue neutral. The county will vote to set the tax rate next week and will only decide the overall county rate. The 2013 budget was based on revenue anticipated from the new rates, so if commissioners decide to keep the 2012 rates, the county general fund and school system will each lose $270,000.

Revenue neutral means most residents would not be paying more taxes, but owners of the highest valued property might see a higher bill. At the same time property owners who saw their values decrease might see a smaller bill.

Bennett told commissioners the owner of a $200,000 home whose value did not change during reappraisal would see an increase of $3.45 on an annual property tax bill under the certified rate.

The Chattanooga rate was certified at 0.0049 points higher than 2012 to 2.3139, but the city adopted last year's rate of 2.3090, Bennett said.

The largest certified rate increases occurred in Collegedale, going from 1.3400 in 2012 to 1.3713 this year. The largest decrease was in Signal Mountain, where the tax rate dropped 0.0950 points from 1.6634 to 1.5684. Municipalities will have to determine whether they will adopt the new certified rates or keep last year's.