County to vote on tax levels
by JOYANNA WEBER, Banner Staff Writer
Jul 09, 2013 | 713 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
D. Gary Davis
D. Gary Davis
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The state certified tax rate for Bradley County has come in lower than what had been estimated by local officials.

An increase of 3 cents was the certified tax rate given to keep revenues at the same level they were before reappraisal.

Bradley County completes reappraisal every four years.

Appraisals this year showed an overall decrease in property value.

Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis said the rate went up to make up for the lost revenue.

The certified tax rate and the fire tax rate will be approved at Monday’s voting session.

Property tax rates would be $1.82 per $100 of accessed value for within the city limits, $2.23 per $100 for those in five-mile fringe areas and $2.16 per $100 for those living in the county outside this fringe area.

Davis said the increase was about half of what he had originally estimated.

The estimation had been done before the appeal process. Any resident who thought their property had been inaccurately appraised could appeal the reappraisal before May 21. Any changes in an individual reappraisal had an effect on the increase.

Also during the meeting:

n Ocoee Utilities District Tim Lawson presented information to the Commission addressing concerns about the utility’s requirement for valves to prevent backflow from lawn sprinkler systems. Concerns about cost of implementing the new valves were expressed by members of the Covenant Hills subdivision homeowners association.

He said the utility is required to have a state-approved cross connection plan to keep potentially hazardous water from flowing back into the utility’s water system. Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation also requires that the system be above ground and tested on a yearly basis. The utility has recently stepped up its enforcement of this requirement.

Lawson said when the Covenant Hills subdivision was built, the contractors did not talk to them about requirements for sprinkler systems.

“The device that has been installed does not meet our requirement ... if we approve it, it is not installed per the design criteria that TDEC sets forth,” Lawson said.

Concerns had also been expressed because the utility requires that they be the one to run yearly tests on the connector valve.

“We test the valves ourselves, not because it’s a money grab ... it’s out of convenience for the customer. These have to be inspected every 12 months They cannot go 12 months and a day or we are supposed to turn your water off, according to requirements that are set out for us to follow. In this case, the convenience is the utility does that,” Lawson said.

He said the utility also charges its customers less than someone else would.

Bradley County Attorney Crystal Freiberg said the Tennessee Clean water Act does not give specific guidelines. Instead, it leaves those to TDEC.

- A presentation was given by Life Bridges explaining how the portion of funding received from the local government was used.

“We are appreciative for of all these many years this community has provided support,” CEO of Life Bridges Diana Jackson said.

Life Bridges has 25 group homes or supported living homes for those with special needs throughout Bradley County.

“The [funding] the Commission gives us each year helps us provide services to some individuals who would not otherwise be able to come to the day program. They function at a [high enough] level that the state does not provide [funding for them] to come,” Jackson said.

The organization is the eighth largest employer in Bradley County, according to Jackson.

- Second District Commissioner Ed Elkins expressed concern about sediment and mud in Brymer Creek and Mouse Creek.

“Surprisingly, the Hiwassee was relatively clear down to the point of the effluency of Mouse Creek. Then where Mouse Creek went into the Hiwassee, the color changed dramatically,” Elkins said. “We’ve got some issues that are damaging the Hiwassee River.”

Fourth District Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones said with all the recent rain there was not much that could be done. She said contractors in the area “were doing multiple layers of erosion control ... and with all of the rain we have had lately there is no way to prevent some of it.”