By ALEXANDER WILLIS
Spring Hill alderman Chad Whittenburg has called a special meeting of the Board of Mayor and Alderman to discuss his proposal of a property tax increase on Tuesday night.
The meeting will be held at the Spring Hill Public Library at 7 p.m. and is open to the public. During the meeting, Whittenburg will reveal the exact increase amount and residents will be encouraged to voice their thoughts and concerns on the proposal. The property tax increase was proposed to potentially help fund transportation projects in Spring Hill as the city continues to grow.
The city of Spring Hill is unique in that it’s split into two counties: Williamson and Maury County. Because of the split, residents pay two different property tax rates depending on which county they reside in. The current property tax rate on the Williamson County side of Spring Hill is .5903 cents per $100 of assessed value of a property. Maury County has a property tax rate of .5767 cents per $100 of assessed value. These property tax rates are the second and third highest property tax rates in the county, respectively, and are only behind the city of Fairview.
One possible contributing factor to the comparatively higher property tax rates in Spring Hill was a major setback that occurred roughly 10 years ago, which communications director Jamie Page said “set the city way behind.”
“The property tax was abolished at one point,” Page said. “Because things were growing so fast at that time, [the administration] thought that they could get by on all the increased sales tax and [things] relating to development fees, and so forth.”
In the early 2000’s, Spring Hill saw continual budget surpluses every year. This eventually led the administration to drop the property tax gradually, until removing it altogether in 2005. Shortly after, this set the city in a “financial bind,” according to Page.
In September of 2007, it was discovered that funds from the water and sewer fund had been illegally moved to the general fund. An audit was requested by the Board of Mayor and Alderman, finding that nearly $3 million had been transferred without the consent of the Board.
In July of 2008, the Board of Mayor and Alderman had approved a five-year plan to repay the transferred funds.
“And so then at the same time, you had a massive amount of growth continuing to happen over the last 15 to 20 years,” Page said. “After all that happened with the property tax being abolished, they came back and set a property tax rate of [roughly] 60 cents, and it’s never changed since then.”
Duplex Road is among the largest ongoing construction projects in Spring Hill, and the increased property tax rate could potentially see improvements made to other streets around the city.
The Spring Hill Public Library is located at 144 Kedron Parkway, Spring Hill, TN 37174.