Bradley County, Tenn., property tax rate rises

Bradley County, Tenn., property tax rate rises

July 16th, 2013 by Paul Leach in Local Regional News

Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Bradley County's certified tax rate has increased by almost 2 percent as a result of a state-mandated reappraisal.

The new rate, which is $1.8254 per $100 of assessed value, is a 3.34 cent increase on the old rate of $1.792. The new rate is intended to offset expected revenue losses from decreases in property value.

"State law says that you can't bring in more or less revenue due to a reappraisal -- it's got to be revenue neutral," Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis said.

The county had a 2 percent decrease in property values overall, he said.

County commissioners approved the state-certified rate in a 12-1 vote Monday, with Commissioner Jeff Yarber opposing.

Yarber said the reappraisal and the new rate would amount to a tax hike on a number of 5th District residents on the south side of the county, where property values have risen.

"I understand the thought process ... but on the south side of town, in my area, the value actually went up, and so I'll be paying more taxes and my neighbors will be paying more taxes next year," Yarber said. "To us, it is a tax increase."

In other business, Commissioner Jeff Morelock said he would reintroduce a proposal to increase property taxes to provide funding for $14 million in proposed renovations for Lake Forest Middle School.

The proposal will be discussed at next Monday's work session, Morelock said. He also said he wanted to review an "alternate funding" presentation to be made Wednesday to the Bradley County Finance Committee by Cope Associates Architecture.

The Lake Forest renovation has been a top priority of the Bradley County Board of Education for a number of years. The makeover calls for more than half a dozen buildings on the 75-acre campus to be replaced with a 57-classroom central academic building.

Bradley County Commissioner Jeff Morelock

Education officials also are considering incorporating geothermal technology into the campus.

School officials said the renovations are intended to prevent $6 million in repairs and generate energy savings.

The county school board recently voted to contribute $1 million to the project if the Bradley County Commission would commit to a funding plan by July 1, 2014, and launch construction no later than July 1, 2015.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.