NewsNewsChannel 5 Investigates


Mayor Cooper's property tax announcement raises questions about property tax bills

Nashville Skyline
Posted at 4:42 PM, Apr 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-16 19:52:57-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Mayor John Cooper announced on NewsChannel 5 This Morning that property tax rates will go down next year.

But just because the property tax rate goes down, it does not automatically mean you will pay less in property taxes.

How much you'll pay next year also depends on the value of your property.

That value is set every four years by the Property Assessor.

The assessor's report is coming out soon, and it is likely property values have soared.

Davidson County Property Assessor Vivian Wilhiote was at a community event on Friday morning handing out information about the upcoming property reappraisal.

She says her office will start mailing the new property values to homeowners next week on April 23.

Many people may see dramatic increases in their home's value.

In the last reappraisal four years ago, the average Davidson County property increased 37%.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked, "Are we looking at that again? A final number of around 37%?"

Wilhoite responded, "All I can say is Nashville is booming. But we have not finished with the reappraisal, and that's where I'm going to keep it until we get everything done."

State law prohibits cities from making more money from reappraisals.

So, if property values increase, the tax rate has to go down.

Four years ago, after that 37% average increase in value, Metro lowered its property tax rate.

It went from $4.50 per $100 of assessed value all the way down to $3.10.

Political Analyst Pat Nolan believes a lot of Metro Council members were surprised the mayor would announce lowering the property tax rate before there was an official report from the property assessor.

"He's taken a lot of grief about the 34% property tax increase, maybe he sees that as a way of saying 'it's not that bad. And maybe yours will go down a little bit,'" Nolan said.

The reality is lowering the property tax rate does not mean that everyone will pay less in property taxes.

Four years ago, if your house went up in value by more than 37% - and many parts of the city did - chances are your tax bill went up, even though the rate went down.

If the value of your house increased by less than 37%, it's likely you paid less in property taxes.

Wilhoite said after the mayor appeared TV this morning and said last year's 34% property tax increase would be "reversed" - she saw people asking whether they would get a property tax refund.

"He may have said it in such a way that it sounded like a refund, but that's not how it is whenever there is an adjustment in the certified tax rate," Wilhoite said.

She said her office has been talking with the mayor so he has some idea of what's coming.

The mayor told NewsChannel 5 home values are going up - so the tax rate will go down.

But with all that - the city will still take in the same amount of money - unless the council decides to raise the rate.