Property owner's appeals impact Metro budget - WSMV News 4

Property owner's appeals impact Metro budget

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The Metro Budget and Finance Committee meeting on Monday. (WSMV) The Metro Budget and Finance Committee meeting on Monday. (WSMV)

If you drive down almost any street in Nashville, you see construction; the downtown skyline is still dotted with cranes.

But looks can be deceiving.

Metro officials are worried about numbers that show Metro is taking in less property tax money than expected. It’s bad news for the budget.

Councilmembers heard the bad news Monday night, that property tax collections may be 20 to 25 million dollars below what they need to balance the budget.

"The concerns are real," said Councilman Jim Shulman at Metro’s Budget and Finance Committee meeting Monday.

The finance department gave several reasons in a memo in February:

  • After two years of solid growth, revenue is slowing.
  • The Hall Income Tax is being phased out.
  • The city has a big debt load.
  • More people are winning when they appeal their new property assessments.

James Story and his wife live in a 4,000-square-foot house on Battlefield Drive. They are appealing their new assessed value. They were shocked to hear Metro said their house is worth more than $1 million dollars. They have a hearing scheduled to dispute the number.

More than 9,000 people have filed informal appeals, that's up 49 percent over the last reappraisal four years ago.

"We see the increase as a result of our outreach,” said Davidson County Assessor of Property Vivian Wilhoite.

Wilhoite said more people know about the appeals process and are taking advantage of it.

But more successful appeals means less tax money is coming in to fund the government.

"It's really, you just don't know. And this year was a different type of year," Wilhoite said.

Overall, it will be a tough budget year, said Mayor David Briley.

He is telling department heads not to expect more money. The 2018-2019 budget will be a status quo budget.

"When you have a very low tax rate like we do here, you have to be very careful not to spend too much money,” Briley said. “So we're doing that this year."

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