Hamilton County will have a new property assessor after next year.
Longtime Assessor Bill Bennett has decided not to seek another term.
Bennett said in an email Monday he would retire at the end of his current office, which ends Aug. 31, 2016.
"After careful thought, prayer and encouragement from my family, I have made the decision not to seek reelection in 2016," Bennett wrote.facebook
Bennett, a Republican, thanked all who had helped him during his political career, which started when he was elected to the Hamilton County Commission in 1980.
"I want to thank all those who helped me so many years ago throughout Hamilton County. I express my deepest gratitude to all those men and women who helped me win every single election. Together we won 10 primary elections and 10 general elections," he said.
He also said he was thankful for those in his office, which he has led since 1994.
"They have my respect for their commitment, knowledge and expertise in the job they do each day. They have made our office a model in the state of Tennessee," Bennett said.
The assessor locates, classifies and values all property in the county.The County Commission then sets the tax rate based on assessor information.
The job pays $115,588 a year, according to the county's 2016 budget.
Republicans and Democrats have both expressed interest in seeking the post next year.
Hamilton County Commissioner Marty Haynes, a Republican, said Monday he "was interested in the position," but he would make a formal announcement later.
And Terry Lee, chairman of the local Democratic Party, said a number of folks in his party are eyeing the job.
"We've got some people who were looking at it, sort of waiting for Mr. Bennett to make his decision. He's served for a number of years. I will be meeting back with those folks," Lee said.
Bennett was a District 9 county commissioner when he won the assessor's seat in 1994. He replaced Claude Ramsey, who was elected county executive (now county mayor).
Lee said he was pleased that Bennett made the decision so far ahead of the election.
"I appreciate the fact that he made the decision this early so he could give everybody in both parties a year ahead to decide," he said.
Contact staff writer Louie Brogdon at firstname.lastname@example.org, @glbrogdoniv on Twitter or at 423-757-6481.