Clarksville mayor proposes 20 cent property tax increase to fund transportation, road improvements

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Posted at 2:11 PM, May 19, 2021

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts has proposed a 20-cent property tax increase to fund road improvements, citing the city's transportation needs and rapid growth.

In a release Wednesday, Pitts said the tax increase would fund “Tier 1 of the Transportation 2020 +” project and would generate $6.9 million per-year to invest in road improvements.

City officials said Clarksville’s current property tax rate is $1.0296 per $100 of assessed value, which they said is much lower than several comparable cities, such as Chattanooga at $2.277, Knoxville at $2.4638 and Murfreesboro at $1.2894.

They said the increase would take the property tax rate to $1.23 per $100 of assessed value, and that the average homeowner would pay about $84 a year, or $7 a month, more in property taxes.

“This is not a record of out-of-control taxation by the City of Clarksville,” according to the city. They added that Clarksville's tax rate has not been increased in more than 10 years and has not been higher than $1.24 since 2011.

Clarksville officials said the city’s transportation needs stem from rapid growth, which is expected to continue.

“Clarksville has an ever-increasing number of people and vehicles using a road network that must be expanded."

The city also provided a few more details about the plan:

  • “Transportation 2020 + Tier 1 proposes 13 priority projects needed to fight gridlock, improve mobility and ensure safe roadways. Tier 1 is estimated to cost $202 million to design, acquire right of way and construct. After grants, special revenues and previously authorized allocations are subtracted from the total, the City would need to borrow $167 million to complete Tier1.” – Read more about that plan here.
  • “The 20-cent tax increase would generate $6.9 million per year. This new revenue would be invested in roadway improvements. With the borrowing capacity of $167 million enabled by the tax increase, Tier 1 improvements would be completed in six years.”

The city said even though the Tennessee Department of Transportation maintains the major roadways and state highways, that’s not enough to alleviate congestion – especially along Whitfield Road, Tylertown/Oakland roads, Needmore Road and the new Spring Creek Parkway.

The city also provided the some “points of clarification” about taxes and projects in Clarksville and Montgomery County:

  • “City and County governments have separate tax rates, budgets and revenues. County government has different functions, different decision makers and different priorities -- none of which are controlled by the City of Clarksville.”
  • “Transportation 2020+ is a City of Clarksville initiative, based on the needs of the City's transportation network and on the reality of the City of Clarkville's budget and revenues.”
  • “The Multi-Purpose Event Center being built downtown is a project of Montgomery County government, not the City of Clarksville. Not building the MPEC would not provide a dime for construction of City of Clarksville streets and roads. Conversely, building MPEC is not taking a dime away from building streets and roads in Clarksville.”
  • “The wheel tax is set and collected by Montgomery County, which devotes those revenues to the County-funded school system. The City of Clarksville doesn't receive any money from the wheel tax, so no wheel tax money can be used to improve City streets and roads.”
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Clarksville also provided some "quick facts" about the plan.