Martin property tax increase struck down at meeting

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Former long-time Weakley County Assessor of Property David Tuck addressed the City of Martin Board of Mayor and Aldermen during their noon meeting held Friday in the courtroom of the local police department. Tuck told board members the numbers proposed in the proposed Fiscal Year 2023-24 budget did "not add up." The Board was looking to set the property tax rate at the current rate of $1.75 per $100 of assessed property value. This year, Weakley Countians are faced with increased property values as 2023 is a re-appraisal year. The last county reappraisal was conducted in 2018. Photo by Lorcan McCormick/Martin Post

The City of Martin Board of Mayor and Aldermen faced a crowded room during its public hearing Friday at noon in the courtroom of the Martin Police Department. The Board’s agenda included a proposed Fiscal Year 2023-24 budget that would set the certified tax rate for property owners in the city. Aldermen shot down the proposal after hearing from several community members who were against the measure during the public hearing.

This year brought new property appraisals in the county as part of the five-year cycle for assessments. The last time property values were appraised for tax purposes in Weakley County was 2018. According to the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office and Weakley County Assessor of Property office, the county and cities typically will set a lower certified property tax rate during a reappraisal cycle.

During Fiscal Year 2017-18, the certified tax rate for the City of Martin was listed at $1.5016 per $100 of assessed value. After the 2018 reappraisal, the City of Martin set its certified tax rate at $1.4044 for Fiscal Year 2018-19.

Director of Communications for Tennessee’s Comptroller Department of the Treasury John Dunn explained, “During a reappraisal year, the tax rate is adjusted due to something known as the Certified Tax Rate. So, when assessments go up during a reappraisal as they typically do, the cities and counties are provided with a new, lower tax rate that ensures that the city and county will bring in about the same amount of revenue as the year prior to the reappraisal. The county commission or city council could then choose to adopt either that rate, or it could choose to exceed that rate, by first holding a public hearing and then adopting that new rate. The Property Assessor doesn’t determine the tax rate. The tax rate is set by the governing body in each city or county.”

The calculated Certified Tax Rate for Weakley County (all Weakley County property owners) is $1.3702. The calculated CTR for Martin (all city of Martin property owners) is $1.2478. Property owners within the city limits of Martin pay city and county rates.

If a jurisdiction’s governing body decided to exceed the rate, they will have to publish a notice of intent to exceed, hold a public hearing and then formally adopt a rate, according to Dunn.

A residential property located in the city limits of Martin assessed at $150,000 would have to pay taxes on 25 percent ($37,500) of that value. At Martin’s current tax rate of $1.75 per $100 of assessed value, the homeowner is required to pay approximately $656.25 for the year in property taxes for a home worth $150,000 to the City of Martin. In addition, the homeowner would pay property taxes to Weakley County, based on its certified tax rate.

If that same piece of property increased in value to $215,000, under Martin’s current tax rate, the homeowner will pay taxes on $53,750 (25 percent) of its value. The property tax owed to the city for the same property would increase to $940.63 for the year.

Commercial and industrial property owners pay taxes on 40 percent of their property values. Farms and residential property owners pay taxes on 25 percent of their property values. A business property appraised at $300,000 would pay taxes based on 40 percent ($120,000) of its value. The property taxes owed to the city for that property would be $2,100 for the year. If that same property increased in value this year to $325,000 at Martin’s current tax rate, the owner would have to pay $2,275 in property taxes to the city.

After hearing from former county assessor of property, David Tuck; realtor David Sudberry; business owners Joe and Edith Adcock and Alan Laderman; and several other community members, the board unanimously voted down the proposed budget. Today’s meeting was the second and final reading on the proposed budget, setting the city’s Certified Tax Rate. The City of Martin Board of Mayor and Aldermen have historically met at noon on the last day of a Fiscal Year – June 30 – or the closest day for a public hearing and final vote on its new Fiscal Year budget. City of Martin officials will revisit its operating budget and certified tax rate for the coming year.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen will hold its regular monthly meeting at 5:15 p.m. on July 10 in the city courtroom. Meetings are open to the public.

For more details and commentary from today’s meeting, pick up a copy of next week’s Martin Post.

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