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Healthily LifestyleCity OKs 15-cent tax increase | Local News | #elderly | #seniors | #execrise

City OKs 15-cent tax increase | Local News | #elderly | #seniors | #execrise

Crossville City Council unanimously approved, upon third reading, a property tax rate increase Tuesday evening during its monthly meeting. The 15-cent per $100 valuation increase will be reflected on 2021 property tax bills. 

During a public hearing prior to the meeting, a number of residents stated their opposition to the increase. 

Thomas Smith, 82, said what he earns in Social Security each month does not increase, but taxes do. He suggested setting up a GoFund Me page tor seniors to help cover a tax increase. 

“It’s good to give money to senior citizens,” said Smith, who has lived in Crossville for 25 years. 

Tom Isham said he really hates taxes. Spending $30 million to $40 million on a pool — the estimated cost of the indoor recreation center with indoor and outdoor pools, basketball and pickleball courts and a walking trail — is a lot, he added, and is going to hurt too many people, many of whom are seniors earning an average of $900 a month from Social Security.

Glenn Guffey didn’t mince words when it came to a tax increase. 

“A 25% increase in property taxes is totally ridiculous,” he said. “It’s a bad idea.”

Older residents could take heart with the announcement that city staff will soon provide information on tax increase relief for seniors. In the meantime, tax relief for seniors is available through the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury Office. Call 615-747-8871 or go to relief for further information.

Tennessee offers property tax relief for homeowners who are elderly, disabled, disabled veterans or the surviving spouse of a disabled veteran. Property owners must apply each year, and they may request relief for their primary residence only. The program includes limits on income and property value.

The 15-cent property tax increase for city residents would add about $56 to the annual tax bill for a home valued at $150,000. It is the first tax increase in the city in six years, increasing the rate from .59.05 cents to 74.05 cents per $100 assessed value.

“We still have one of the lowest tax rates,” said Mayor James Mayberry, adding that a number of residents support the increase but didn’t come to the public hearing. “Things are more expensive than a year ago. It cost $1,000 a day to close down Main St. for various events. It’s the cost of doing business and survival.”

Councilman Rob E. Harrison said the jury is still out on a recreation center and the tax money, about $600,000 a year, will go toward the city’s increased financial costs. 

The 2021-’22 budget includes $19.6 million in expenses, with $20.1 million in revenue.

The tax increase and budget were part of the council’s consent agenda and approved without comment during the meeting.

Council also approved lowering the speed limit on Sparta Hwy. from Highland Square to Tennessee Ave./Northside Dr. from 45 mph to 40 mph. This followed a traffic study and count by city staff of the Holiday Dr. intersection that concluded a traffic light was not needed at that spot.

Resident Cheri Carson, speaking during the public hearing, said dropping the speed limit 5 mph will not adequately address the issue of speeding in the area and suggested adding a traffic light and right turn lane to make the intersection safer and less congested. 

Posing with a group of amateur radio field operators, the mayor issued a proclamation for Amateur Radio Field Days. Scheduled for June 26-27, the 24-hour emergency encampment exercise will offer a demonstration of the radio amateurs’ skills and readiness to provide self-supporting communication even in a field without further infrastructure.

In other business, City Manager Greg Wood reported that building permits are down a bit. 

“The cost of building supplies has gone through the roof — literally,” Wood said. 

He also gave an “attaboy” to the police department for confiscating a considerable amount of drugs and money, along with weapons, during a drug bust. 

During its beer board meeting, Council unanimously approved beer licenses for Miller Mart Main Street and Bunkers Grill & Patio Bar. 

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