At Tuesday night’s special called year-end budget meeting, Bedford County Board of Commissioners approved budgets and tax rates for the new fiscal year that begins July 1.
The county property tax rate will be $1.9652 per $100 assessed value, which the state says is the same as last year’s $2.66 tax rate when you factor in the impact of this year’s reappraisal.
This was the year for county property to be reappraised, which in Bedford County happens every five years. In Tennessee, the reappraisal process is intended to be revenue neutral. During a reappraisal year, the state looks at the reappraised property values and estimates what tax rate would have to be applied to the new property values to bring in the same amount of money (plus normal growth) that the old tax rate brought in when applied to the old values. If the county had set a tax rate any higher than the certified tax rate of $1.9652, that would have been a property tax increase, even if the rate looked lower than the previous year’s rate of $2.66. The county would have had to hold a public hearing to inform citizens it needed to set a higher rate.
Bedford County Commissioners, however, passed a budget which can be funded with the certified tax rate, which means most property owners should not see any significant change in their property tax bills.
There may be exceptions, however; a citizen whose property rose in value faster than the countywide average might see an increased tax bill. A property which rose in value more slowly than the average, or even dropped in value, might see a decreased tax bill.
“I’m delighted, and I know the county commissioners are as well, that we were able to hold the line on the tax rate,” said County Mayor Chad Graham. “Budget time is always challenging. We know about the county’s needs, and we have plans for making Bedford County a better place to live, work and play for all of us. We’re excited about the possibilities, and I believe this budget provides what we need to move forward.
“But we always recognize it’s a solemn responsibility to ask the taxpayers for money, and especially so in a challenging year like the one we’ve just experienced. We try to be as judicious in our spending as we can, because we know that these taxes have to be paid by individual property owners trying to live within their means.”
The $1.9652 tax rate breaks down as follows:
- General fund: $1.04, $26,256,597 budget;
- Highway/Public Works: $0.06, $4,801,660 budget;
- General Purpose School: $0.68, $73,893,380 budget;
- General Debt Service: $0.15, $8,701,452 budget; and
- County Capital Projects: $0.0352, $1,525,325 budget.
Other budget funds not funded by property tax include:
- Central Cafeteria Fund, $5,781,255 budget;
- Other Special Revenue Fund (American Rescue Plan Act), $4,828,084 budget;
- School Age Care Program, $652,015 budget;
- Education Capital Projects Fund, $159,052 budget;
- Jail/Justice Center Capital Projects Fund, $147,599 budget; and
- Drug Control Fund, $100 budget.
Also at Tuesday night’s meeting, commissioners approved $510,340 in contributions to local not-for-profit charitable organizations, last-minute cleanup amendments to the 2020-21 budgets, and other routine end-of-fiscal-year budget business.
For more information about property appraisals, call Assessor of Property Ronda Clanton’s office at 931-684-6390 or go to comptroller.tn.gov/office-functions/pa.html.