Council to vote on new tax rate
by RICK NORTON, Associate Editor
Jul 21, 2013 | 753 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A public hearing to allow community input, and a subsequent vote to adopt the proposed 2013-14 property tax rate of $1.7655 per $100 of assessed value will headline the Cleveland City Council’s agenda Monday during a formal voting session at City Hall that gets underway at 3 p.m.

City Councilmen will also hold an informal work session that kicks off at 1 p.m.

On tap for the work session are reports by City Manager Janice Casteel on Centenary Avenue drainage, a city-wide maintenance program and city-wide training.

One announcement on the work session agenda includes a planned community meeting Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at the College Hill Recreation Center.

But Monday’s headliner is further discussion, and the Council’s first vote, on the Fiscal Year 2014 property tax rate that has been delayed in order to allow time by the Tennessee Board of Equalization to act on the official certified tax rate.

The new rate for the city, as approved by the state board, increases the rate property owners will pay per each $100 of assessed value by 9 cents.

That means the certified property tax rate for Cleveland residents will increase from $1.49 per $100 of assessed value to $1.5804.

However, the certified rate does not include the 18.51-cent property tax increase approved March 25 by Council members. That amount, plus the certified rate increase, will total $1.7655 per $100 of assessed value.

The county tax bill, which is also paid by city residents, will increase 4 cents from $1.7920 to $1.8254. City residents pay city and county property taxes.

According to prior published reports by the Cleveland Daily Banner, as discussed during City Council sessions, Bradley County reappraises property value on a four-year cycle as required by the state of Tennessee. The property tax rate is adjusted up or down depending on the total value of real and personal property in the city and in the county. Some tax bills may increase. Some may decrease or stay the same.

Overall, city and county governments cannot take in more revenue in the year following a property value re-evaluation, according to past reports by Casteel and by county government officials during earlier City Council and Bradley County Commission meetings.

According to property re-evaluations, the total tax base in the city decreased from $1.105 billion in 2009 to $1.066 billion.

Casteel explained how the re-evaluation affects the city’s tax base. In an article published in the Banner on July 9, she explained, “Because the appraisal went down, the rate has to go up because you as a city or a county are guaranteed the same revenue that you received in the previous year. That’s why the tax rate must go up.”

She added, “This is the first time the re-evaluation process has required us to increase tax rates. Every time before, tax rates would decrease. That’s what is so unusual this time, that property values in Cleveland and Bradley County have gone down.”

According to the Bradley County Assessor’s Office website, Bradley County was last reappraised in 2009. The county adopted the four-year reappraisal cycle as allowed by state law, and according to the rules and regulations of the State of Tennessee and the State Board of Equalization.

State law requires that all property be periodically reappraised at market value.

Monday’s formal session agenda of the City Council also includes the swearing-in of two new police officers — Joe Musselwhite and Chad Nave.

Also included on the agenda are reports by Council members George Poe, Charlie McKenzie, Bill Estes, David May, Dale Hughes and Richard Banks, and Vice Mayor Avery Johnson. The Council will also review an ordinance “... to provide for the continuation of certain non-conforming uses within industrial zoning,” which was previously approved by the Cleveland Municipal Planning Commission.

The Council will also review authorization for Mayor Tom Rowland to sign a grant contract with the Tennessee Department of Transportation for a state Enhancement Grant of about $495,000. Based on an 80/20 match of $123,994.50, the grant agreement will total $619,972.50. If authorized by Council members, the agreement will provide for the proposed Ocoee Greenway Connector, which is a spur of the existing Greenway that will connect North Ocoee Street and the Blythe Ferry Road areas to the existing linear park, using a course that follows along Ocoee Crossing and under Keith Street, and will continue to Tinsley Park.

Council members also will review a lengthy Consent Agenda whose items include:

- Final Passage: Ordinance No. 2013-31, amending the City Code Title 14 Section 14-1201(2) that the presence of four members of the Historic Preservation Commission shall constitute a quorum and that a motion shall have passed upon the affirmative vote of a majority of the quorum of board members present and voting;

- Final Passage: Ordinance No. 2013-32, rezoning .56 acres at 775Gaut St. N.E. from IH to R3 (approved by the Cleveland Municipal Planning Commission);

- Final Passage: Ordinance No. 2013-33, rezoning 6.77 acres at 4025 Georgetown Rd. N.W. from R1 to CG (approved by the Cleveland Municipal Planning Commission);

- Final Passage: Ordinance No. 2013-34, amending Section 1.6.21 of the Zoning Regulations to amend the definition of townhouse dwelling in order to allow for the construction of two-unit townhouse dwellings (approved by the Cleveland Municipal Planning Commission);

- Final Passage: Ordinance No. 2013-35, rezoning 1.04 acres at Candies Creek Crossing located on Georgetown Road from CG to CH (approved by the Cleveland Municipal Planning Commission);

- Final Passage: Ordinance No. 2013-36, amending the City Code regarding the Animal Shelter Advisory Board;

- Resolution No: 2013-58: 2012 Tax Refund, Broad Street United Methodist ($116.00);

- Resolution No: 2013-59: 2012 Tax Refund, Broad Street United Methodist ($120.00);

- Resolution No: 2013-60, to support TML’s Resolution and authorizing the mayor to write a letter to Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and to U.S. Congressmen to strongly oppose any efforts by Congress or the administration to reduce or eliminate the tax exemption on municipal bond interest;

- Resolution No: 2013-61, to support TML’s Resolution and authorizing the mayor to write the city’s Congressional delegation to show the city’s support of the Marketplace Fairness Act;

- Resolution No: 2013-62, accepting a donation of property from the Church of God to be used for the construction of a restroom adjacent to the Greenway;

- Resolution No: 2013-63, authorizing the mayor to sign an inter-local agreement with Bradley County in connection with the 2013 Byrne Justice Assistance Grant;

- Resolution No: 2013-64, authorizing the mayor to sign a grant contract with TDOT for the Clean Tennessee Energy Grant ($150,000, a 50/50 match of $75,000);

- Resolution No: 2013-65, authorizing the mayor to sign a grant application with TDEC for the Green Development grant program for irrigation at Tinsley Park ($30,000, an 80/20 match);

- Resolution No: 2013-66, authorizing the mayor to sign a grant application with TDEC for the Green Development grant program in connection with the Mohawk Trailhead parking lot paving project ($30,000, an 80/20 match);

- Bid Report: Uniforms for Public Works and Parks & Recreation;

- Reappointment to the Beer Board of Donald Humes for an additional 2-year term to expire July 2015; and

n Reappointment to the Beer Board of Ellie St. Pierre for an additional 2-year term to expire July 2015 (previously served as a first alternate).