KINGSPORT, Tenn. - In a contrast of fiscal policies across East Tennessee, the Greeneville City Council, Johnson City Commission, and Elizabethton City Council have all recently announced significant property tax hikes, while Kingsport has managed to resist such changes for the coming fiscal year.
The Greeneville City Council has approved a hefty $0.28 property tax rate increase for the 2024 Fiscal Year Budget, a 13% rise that puts the new rate at $2.4575 per $100 of assessed value on all real and personal property, up from the previous $2.1775. This fiscal decision is sure to add pressure on the wallets of city property owners.
Similarly, the Johnson City Commission has met and unanimously approved a $0.25 raise in property taxes for the 2023-24 fiscal year budget. This increase lifts the rate from $1.73 to $1.98 per $100 of assessed value. Under the new regime, a property valued at $200,000 will owe roughly $990 in taxes, up from the previous $865, translating to an added burden of $125.
Meanwhile, in Elizabethton, the city council has given preliminary approval for a more moderate 5% property tax increase. This change raises the rate by eight cents, from $1.57 to $1.65 per $100 of assessed value. City Manager Daniel Estes explained that although the budget was balanced without a tax hike, city leaders chose to prioritize infrastructure investments, specifically the repaving budget, funded entirely by the tax increase revenue. The council also approved a $1.50 increase to the city’s base water and sewer rates to cope with rising operational costs.
As citizens brace for these increases, Kingsport stands as an anomaly, holding steady without raising property taxes for the coming year.
Council members in all cities have highlighted the necessity of these hikes to maintain and improve essential city services, despite objections from some quarters. Critics, like Elizabethton Council Member Kim Birchfield, cite mounting pressure on residents, especially the elderly who are grappling with fixed incomes and rising costs of living.
The Johnson City Commission will finalize the budget during their meeting on June 15. Elizabethton’s council is also scheduled to vote one final time before formally adopting the budget.