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KS Mayor Gross explains new property appraisal, tax for FY25

As Kingston Springs residents begin to see their property assessment notices from the county show up in their mailbox, panic sets in as they assume their property tax is going to skyrocket. That is not necessarily the case, Mayor Tony Gross said.


The Kingston Springs Gazette sat down with the city’s leader to understand the property tax reappraisal process and how the community can get involved in the city’s budget talks for fiscal year 2025. 


“Property assessments happen every four or five or six years” by the Cheatham County property assessor, Mayor Gross said. “And when they do them, one of two things can happen. Obviously, your property value can go up or it can go, less likely, but it can go down.” 

 

“What's happened in this case is, in general, property values have gone up,” he explained for the most recent assessment residents received notice of. 


What happens next? Mayor Gross explained that the comptroller will come up with a certified tax rate. “They'll send that rate back to, in our case in Kingston Springs, the City Commission,” he said. “The City Commission will take that rate and then approve that new rate. And in this case, it's going to be a lower rate, I assume, because … obviously property values have gone up, which is not surprising. We live in a very popular place to move to in the United States and property values are just up across the country, so they're going to probably be even more inflated in Middle Tennessee because it's where people want to be.” 


Mayor Gross said that once the Kingston Springs City Commission receives the certified tax rate, they have the option to add more taxes to that rate “as they do every year.”  


“In Kingston Springs, there's been a number of years we'll add a cent – which is a 10th of a percent of tax – to our tax rate to maybe just increase revenue a little bit,” Mayor Gross said. “Most people will pay approximately the same amount as they did the year before.” 


“It's going to vary some because, for instance, I was talking to a friend who his house value has went up on assessment 32%, and mine went up 65%. So obviously, I'll probably end up paying a little bit more under the new assessed tax rate than my friend will, whose value only went up 30% because mine went up twice as much as his did,” the mayor gave as an example. 


“Just because the value of my house went up 62% according to the appraisal, that doesn't mean my taxes are going to go up 62%, and I think that's where people are freaking out,” he said. “They see that and they think, ‘Oh, my appraisal went up 50% so that means I'm going to be paying 50% more taxes,’ and that's not the case.” 


“The certified rate that comes from the comptroller's office is the number that will produce the exact amount of revenue that was produced the year prior,” he explained. “It does not increase the revenue at all.” 


As a simple example, he said, “Say we brought in $2 million in profit last year. Then what they will do is they will calculate, under the new appraised value, how much the tax rate would be to bring in $2 million in revenue next year. That's all it would do.” 


Still not clear? Check out this video from the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury on property tax reappraisal and certified tax rate. 


Mayor Gross said after the City Commission receives the certified tax rate from the county, they will begin budget talks for fiscal year 2025, which starts in July. All city meetings are open to the public and the community is encouraged to attend. 


“This month, in April, we'll have a budget workshop. And we won't have the tax rate yet, but we'll have a budget workshop … right before our City Commission meeting,” Mayor Gross said. On Thursday, April 18 at 6 p.m., the Kingston Springs Board of Commissioners will hold their budget workshop at City Hall in downtown. The regularly scheduled commissioner meeting will follow at 7 p.m.


“In May we'll have the first reading of that budget,” Mayor Gross said of the May 16 meeting. “In June, we'll have a second reading and final passage, and in that process we’ll also adopt a new tax rate.” The June meeting will be held on the 20th. 


Mayor Gross emphasized that property taxes largely fund “all the services we enjoy in Kingston.” 


“I think Kingston Springs, on a pretty low budget with a very small staff, does a great job of providing good roads, providing a very good fire service and providing legal protection,” Mayor Gross said. 


To put it into perspective, Mayor Gross said that taxes help the city pay for a “really good fire service” which makes home-owner’s insurance costs go down. “I would rather pay property taxes to fund my fire department that provides a service in my community, keeps those dollars in my community, than send it to my insurance company that's not in my community,” he said.


“There's tangible benefits to people that live in Kingston Springs that come from paying taxes,” he concluded. “We get a common good of roads, we get a common good of police service, of police protection, fire service and parks, and I think these are important things that at least are part of the reason I live in Kingston Springs and I love living in Kingston Springs.”   

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