Residents in gentrified neighborhoods urged to apply for tax fre - WSMV Channel 4

Residents in gentrified neighborhoods urged to apply for tax freeze

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Growth in Edgehill has resulted in changing demographics. (WSMV) Growth in Edgehill has resulted in changing demographics. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

More of the new and less of the old. That's what you'll find in Edgehill, a Nashville neighborhood that now epitomizes gentrification.

"Edgehill was a really strong community before it became hip and oh so popular," said Susie Johnson, an Edgehill resident.

The changes prompted Vanderbilt doctoral student Amie Thurber to conduct a 12-week study. She said Edgehill is now in a "state of emergency."

According to her findings, 900 properties have been sold since 2010, prices have skyrocketed, and with all that, the racial mix is changing. The number of white homeowners and renters has doubled, while the number of their black counterparts has declined.

Many longtime residents feel they're being pushed out, in some cases, by developers using predatory tactics.

“We really are concerned about our older people because it's affecting them the most," said Edgehill resident Carolyn Carey.

You can't stop progress, but you can change it, according to Councilman Freddie O'Connell. He is now working on zoning modifications and possible legislation that would ensure homeowners get fair compensation for the homes they sell. Though he worries about time and how long those things will take.

"Those are two big steps. Meanwhile, people are coming in with rezoning requests and land transactions are happening every day of the week," O'Connell said.

Most importantly, O'Connell said longtime eligible homeowners need to apply for the city's property tax freeze and relief programs which could prevent homeowners from being pushed out by increasing rates. But O'Connell said they need to act before it's too late.

"It's hard. We've got until about April of 2017. If you ask me what one of my top priorities is for next year, it's that," O'Connell said.

Under the program, qualifying homeowners age 65 and older can "freeze" the tax due on their property at the amount for the year they qualify, even if tax rates increase. Applicants must present:

  • Proof of age - birth certificate, Medicare card, driver's license, passport, etc.
  • Proof of ownership - current tax bill or receipt, recorded deed, etc.
  • Evidence property is principal residence - voter registration card, etc.

Further, income records must be provided showing the total income of all owners of the property during 2015 does not exceed $41,660 for Davidson County. Income records include federal tax returns or other items acceptable to the trustee. All applicants must sign an income verification form permitting the Trustee to contact IRS, SSA or the State Division of Property Assessment to verify income. The application is a public record, but the financial documents remain confidential.

Applications for the tax freeze must be filed by April 5 each year. New applicants must come to the Office of the Trustee's office, but no appointment is required. Bring the required documents to the Office of the Trustee and arrive by 3 p.m.

For additional information concerning the program, call 615-862-6330.

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