July 16, 2021
The Williamson County property tax rate is approved and on the rise in Franklin, Tennessee. Although Williamson County’s Commission is at odds over a property tax rate increase, the votes were in favor of increasing the current rate by $.13 cents. As part of the new $650 million budget for 2021-2022, the commission noted the former rate was $1.75 per $100 assessed value.
This discussion has been ongoing, with the issue being raised at two prior public hearings and months of public meetings on the budget. On July 12, 2021, the vote was approved but did not go unopposed. Four commissioners, Sean Aiello, Gregg Lawrence, Erin Nations, and Brian Bethard were the dissenting votes, citing concerns about the property tax hike. Commissioner Gregg Lawrence felt that the tax rate should be reconsidered due to last year’s budget being approved with an increase.
“Given the year we just had, I’m finding it difficult to vote for a tax increase,” says Bethard. Commissioner Lawrence followed with a proposed tax rate of $1.82 instead of the approved $1.88.
Nena Graham, the Director of Budgeting and Purchasing for Williamson County said the approved property tax rate was recommended to address the ending of the Hall Income Tax and revenue losses related to COVID-19 after final reappraisal outcomes. These losses include 48% of the hotel tax and at least 24% in fees from parks and recreation.
Commissioner Judy Herbert, who voted in favor of the increase, said not all residents will see an increase. “Whether you get a tax increase is according to how much your property value went up. I’ve pulled the numbers. If you’re in downtown Franklin and your property went up 245%, you’re going to pay more in taxes. If you live out in a rural area, your property didn’t go up a high and you’re going to pay less. Each person is according to their appraisal price.”
Mayor Rogers Anderson was frustrated at the opposition, citing that the higher rate supports pay raises and insurance cost increases for employees of the county. “You cut this budget and I will tell these employees you didn’t vote for their raises. We are fighting like the dickens to keep and find employees. I don’t like tax increases, but we are in a growing community.”
Following a lengthy discussion, the commission kept the rate and budget “as is” with a total of 18 votes approved, and 4 votes of no. The new fiscal year began July 1.