By ALEXANDER WILLIS
On Monday, all but one of the Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to increase property taxes in the city by roughly 60 percent. The increase will see property taxes increased by .36 cents over a two-year phasing period starting July 1 of this year. Alderman Kevin Gavigan was the only elected official to vote against the increase.
The current property tax rate in the city is split between the Williamson and Maury County sides of the city: .60 cents for every $100 of assessed property value in Maury County, and .6569 cents on the Williamson County side. Starting July 1 of this year, those rates will increase by .26 cents the first year, and ultimately to the full amount of .36 cents in July of 2020.
For reference, a home in Spring Hill valued at $250,000 would see roughly an additional $250 in property taxes annually, with an additional $100 in taxes for every incremental increase of $100,000 in home value.
The first year of increases is estimated to generate an additional $3.12 million in revenue for the city, with the second year bringing in close to $5 million.
The property tax increase, along with the recently passed development fee and sales tax increases, are all aimed at helping the city fund its tens of millions of dollars worth of infrastructure projects; everything from widening Main Street to five lanes, to extending Buckner Road in preparation for the new interchange on I-65.
The language of the resolution stipulates that all funds generated from the property tax increase may only be spent on funding a list of 20 or so infrastructure projects deemed by the city to be a top priority. The property tax rate is also set revert back to its original amount, or “sunset,” once the list of city projects has been funded.
While all but one of the aldermen voted in support of the increase, many had voiced how difficult the decision was for them.
“I think a tax increase is one of those things that two years ago when I was running, I didn’t want to be in,” said Alderman Vincent Fuqua. “I think the first budget meeting that I sat in on before I was elected, I had even asked the current elects at what point were the taxes going to be raised, because there was obviously some shortfall in the budget that I could see early on. One of the hopes that I had at that point is that our economy would catch up and prevent us from being here – it hasn’t.”
Despite his initial aversion to an increase in property taxes, Fuqua said he ultimately realized the city was running out of options.
“So for the last two years, I’ve watched citizens, friends, people on Facebook, church family, ask on roads and these desires of how are we going to commute. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, we’re here, and we are all going to pull out our checkbooks and pay for these improvements that we all want to see. This vote has been difficult to this point, and this is some of the hard decisions that the future elects that’ll take seat in May will be forced to make in their term.”