Property tax rate is not on Monday’s Council agenda

By LARRY C. BOWERS Staff Writer
Posted 8/13/17

Monday’s Cleveland City Council meeting is expected to be fairly brief, with the expectation some Council members will not be attending.

The work session is scheduled for 1 p.m., with the …

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Property tax rate is not on Monday’s Council agenda

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Monday’s Cleveland City Council meeting is expected to be fairly brief, with the expectation some Council members will not be attending.

The work session is scheduled for 1 p.m., with the voting session at 3 p.m. in the Council meeting room at the municipal building.

The second reading of the Council’s proposed increase to the city’s property tax rate is not scheduled for this meeting. The plan is for the entire Council to be in attendance for the vote. The vote is tentatively scheduled for Monday, Aug. 28.

The proposal, one of three options from the city’s administrative staff, is to raise the city tax rate from approximately $1.77 for every $100 of appraised value to $2.06. The tax rate of $1.77 is the lowest rate in the state for 12 municipalities which support a K-12 school system.

With the 29-cent increase, Cleveland’s tax rate would still be among the bottom three communities on this list.

The proposed increase would fund improvement projects included in the 2018 budget.

These projects include the start of construction for the school system’s new Candy’s Creek Cherokee Elementary School on Georgetown Road in the northwest section of the city, lowering the city’s street paving cycle from more than 27 years to 20 years, additional sidewalks and walkability upgrades, proposed personnel additions for the police and fire departments, and traffic and intersection upgrades to address increased traffic congestion in the community.

There has been considerable discussion in the community over the past few weeks concerning the proposed increase. Council members have fielded many of those inquiries.

Much of the opposition is the Council is proposing this increase in one huge jump, over what many feel should have been smaller increments over the next few years. There is also the recent Bradley County Reappraisal, which increased the value of property and thus added to overall tax indebtedness.

There may be some discussion of the city proposed tax increase at Monday’s meeting, but the vote on the second and final reading is not scheduled to take place until the Council’s next meeting in two weeks.

On Monday’s agenda:

• Charlotte Peak is scheduled to approach the Council with a suggestion to change the times in the city’s anti-noise ordinance.

• The Cleveland Amateur Radio Club is approaching the Council, asking the city to provide ownership to property bordering Johnson Boulevard, where the club building is located.

The city provided the club a lease for the property more than 25 years ago, and it has served them well. But, with continued growth, the club is considering expansion at the site, which would require ownership of the property.

Club President Steve Weber says the club would continue to provide permanent access to the Cleveland—Bradley County Emergency Management Agency for maintenance of the existing tower, and to radio equipment on the property.

Weber and the club emphasized it is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Service tax code.

• Three public hearings are scheduled for Monday’s 3 p.m. meeting.

Two hearings are related to abandonment of rights of way on Fernwood Drive and Hays Drive, off Robin Hood Drive northwest. This is related to the planned development off Paul Huff Parkway.

The third hearing concerns a request by a property on Ellis Circle to be included in the rezoning of PUD 16.

These three proposed ordinance will then be considered for approval.

• Consent agenda items include accepting bids for surplus property on Hill Street; and a resolution authorizing the city to participate in the Pool’s Safety Partners Matching Grant Program.

• The mayor and Council members will have the opportunity for reports from their respective districts, or other issues of concern in the city.

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