MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Raise taxes for education or keep Rutherford County affordable?
That's the decision the Rutherford County Commission will have to make as they decide whether to raise property taxes nearly 10 percent next year.
Tuesday night a public hearing was held and many people were supportive of the raise.
They say Rutherford County schools are keeping pace with surrounding counties, like Wilson and Williamson County schools, but to keep that up they'll need more funding.
County officials say there's really only one option for that: raising property taxes.
"I think with all we've heard about future growth we need to stay strong and we need to stay equipped to prepare these schools to handle all these students," said outgoing Rutherford Education Association President Emily Mitchell.
Number crunchers with the county say property taxes are their only option since all the other taxes in the county are maxed out.
The average homeowner would see their bill increase $100-$125 per year under the current proposed hike.
Critics say taxes are too high in the county overall and it's making Rutherford County less attractive for new businesses and residents, who could bring more tax revenue.
"We've priced ourselves out of the market," said Murfreesboro resident Tom Davis. "Which is why we can't get businesses to come here and bring jobs to support the taxes needed to do our business. This isn't the way to go. Nine percent is outrageous."
The full Rutherford County Commission is set to vote on the proposed tax hike and the budget on June 26th.