What Happened To The 10.7% Tax Increase Of 2018?

Monday, May 13, 2019

In 2017 there was a reappraisal of property values in Hamilton County which applies to all property inside and outside the various municipalities as well. Overall the average increase for the county was 10.7 percent.

State law requires that local tax rates be "rolled back" so that reappraisals won't result in a windfall of tax revenue due to reappraisals.  So if your home value went up the average 10.7 percent, the city and county would reduce the tax rate by 10.7 percent and your property tax would remain the same.
That didn't happen in our city or county. The county tax rate should have gone down from $2.7652 per $100 assessed value to $2.4467 per $100.

So the average property tax went up by 10.7 percent for county government.

The city of Chattanooga announced a .03 cent "rollback" from $2.30 to $2.27 per hundred of assessed value. State law would have rolled back the tax rate to $2.06 per assessed value. Overall this in effect allowed a windfall tax increase due to reappraisal. The tax increases were legal because both councils announced the new tax rates, real tax increases in dollars, even though the city "reduced the tax rate by 3 cents instead of 24 cents."

But wait. I'm sure most homes aren't "average" when it comes to reappraisals. If you want to see how average your home is check your actual property tax bill for 9/25/2016 vs 9/25/17.  Some homeowners, such as Andrew Berke, paid almost 22 percent higher property taxes in 2017 as 2016. His assessment increased by about $50,000. Jim Coppinger's property taxes increased by 11.25 percent because his property value increased by only about $27,000.  My friend in Red Bank is paying only 7.43 percent more in property tax because her appraisal increased by less than the 10.7 percent overall reappraisals.

I'm not saying anybody has done anything inappropriate in the appraisals. 

What I am saying is that we just had a huge property tax increase, on average 10.7 percent, and it's too soon to do that again. 

One other point is that the reappraisal tax increase voted in by both councils wasn't very fair to all taxpayers. Mr Berke took a much bigger hit than did my friend in Red Bank. Some property owners probably paid less in 2017 than 2016.

Connie Fisher

Red Bank


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