Bradley County Trustee Mike Smith gave a detailed power point presentation on his Fiscal Year 11/12 Annual Report during the Bradley County Commission work session meeting Monday afternoon. He explained since Oct. 1, 2010, a 12-month payment plan was implemented permitting payments in advance for the upcoming tax year over a 12-month period. Payments begin in March of the tax year and are payable through February of the following year and can be made in person, by mail or by bank draft. There are currently 248 bank drafts / 160 walk-in and payments being made by mail.
A 12 month payment plan is offered to county taxpayers. An anticipated 100 parcels per year are being placed on this program. After two years, the number is now 408. Trustee Smith anticipates reaching a five year goal of 500 in the upcoming year, surpassing projections by two years.
On June 1, 2011 a partial payment plan was implemented for delinquent property taxes. In 2011, the Tennessee State Legislature passed a bill allowing Trustees to collect delinquent taxes through partial payments. After receiving approval from the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office, Bradley County’s Trustee Office instituted this plan allowing no minimum payment amount and no maximum number of payments. All Bradley County real and personal property taxes can be paid by utilizing one of these available partial payment programs or by making the traditional one payment per year and have been approved by the commission and Comptroller’s office.
Trustee Smith said, “The partial payment programs implemented by the trustee’s office since 2007 have been proven beneficial to both Bradley County taxpayers and Bradley County government. We will continue to monitor these programs to ensure they remain both efficient and cost effective. All programs were implemented within the existing budget. Also, no additional staffing was needed to implement any partial payment program.”
Trustee Smith also explained 1,270 parcels are on the tax freeze program with $651,676 of frozen taxes and 1,542 taxpayers on tax relief with $250,856 of tax relief received by Bradley County taxpayers. In the 11/12 fiscal year sales tax collection totals from Bradley County are $4,220,937, City of Cleveland, $26,646,110 and City of Charleston, $149,775. The money was distributed to the county, cities, and city and county schools. The sales tax increase in the Trustee holding account is $533,159.
Trustee Smith said, “The tax revenue coming in from real, personal and utilities remains flat at $39,984,972 in 2011. There’s really no increase that I see in sight at least over the next two or three years. The thing holding this down so much is our lack of residential home building. Over the past six years, we have been able to increase the county’s interest to $3,804,853 due to current investment strategy when compared to investment strategy prior to September 1, 2006.”
He also explained what impact the PILOT’s (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) the commission offers industries was having on Bradley County using Whirlpool, Wacker, Amazon and the Spring Creek Development as examples. The estimated impact of these four was $14,758,030 in revenue through 2016.
He said, “All commitments as of today are being paid out of this year’s budget and the next two years projected budgets from the capital projects fund and the community development fund with the exception of approximately three to four million dollars which may need to be funded out of the future PILOTs. This will include the Veteran’s Nursing Home and the new industrial park (if funding for the industrial park is approved by the County Commission). The estimated future PILOT tax amounts on Amazon, Wacker and the Spring Creek Development from 2012 through 2016 is $18,949,575. These estimates were provided by the Assessor of Property office.
"The estimated future PILOT tax amounts through 2016 total $19,929,013 with P&G-Duracell, Linde North America and Mars Chocolate North America included. After total commitments to be paid from PILOT tax receipts are deducted, the uncommitted estimated PILOT tax receipts through 2016 total $15,440,588.
"In conclusion, future revenue projections include new home construction to remain sluggish for a minimum of two to three years. Local employment numbers should remain stable and should improve with additional jobs forecast in 2013-2014 due to new industries. Continued small increase in sales tax revenue from year to year and a large increase in real and personal property revenue due to new industries is also projected. All of the numbers in this report were not available to this commission until today.”
Commissioner Adam Lowe said, “It is great to know things are excelling and doing well. This is the best news I think I’ve seen since I joined this commission two years ago.” Commissioner Terry Caywood said, “If we had these figures when we were offering to the public a choice on the wheel tax, we wouldn’t have had to even offer them that choice if we had known this was coming. We didn’t know this. This is excellent information.”
Chairman Louie Alford cautioned commissioners saying, “Before we start jumping up and down, we need to make sure we survive another budget year that’s really going to be tight for the county.”
Mayor D. Gary Davis presented a plaque for the 7th Annual Financial Reporting Achievement Award to Bradley County Finance Director Lynn Burns.
Items placed on the agenda for next week’s voting session include the following:
-A resolution approving a PILOT schedule for Mars Chocolate North America to include acquisition and installation of certain machinery, equipment and other personal property with a capital investment of approximately $67,000,000.
-A resolution for a contract with Bradley County Schools to upgrade the sewer system.
-A resolution to name the new connector road at Exit 20 Cherokee Gateway.
The Bradley County Commissioners will hold their next voting session meeting next Monday at noon.