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Property tax follow up

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A state official confirmed this week what many Wilson County property owners feared, an increase in their property tax, while some may see a drop.

The magic number, it appears, is 20 percent.

John Dunn, public information officer with the State Comptroller's Office, said the average increase in property assessments in Wilson was approximately 20 percent.

Dunn said that in Tennessee we have a Certified Tax Rate - also called a Tax Neutral Rate - calculated by the State Board of Equalization.

"It is neutrality from last year's collections to this year's collections," he said. "This year it looks 20 percent above 2011, so the tax rate will have to be adjusted so the county can bring in as much revenue as last year. That means the tax rate will go down about 20 percent. If all things hold equal, Wilson County will collect the same as last year."

Dunn said the amount homeowners can expect to pay will differ based on the percentage your home increased in value.

If your home only went up 18 percent, you could end up paying less next year because it is below the county average increase of 20 percent, he said. "Now on the other hand, if your neighborhood is hot and your value went up 25 percent, you could end up paying more."

In an earlier interview, Wilson County Assessor of Property Jack Pratt put it frankly: "If somebody hasn't put their home on the market in 12 to 18 months, they will be shocked."

Shocked was how many Wilson County residents described their feelings on social media when they received their new property assessments.

The current property tax rate is $2.57 per $100 of assessed value, according to Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto. The state will issue the county a certified tax rate near the end of May, said Dunn.

What happens next is up in the air.

Hutto argued that appraisal value on the up-rise isn't a bad thing.

"Because we live near Nashville, everybody wants to move here. People who bought a house for $150,000 a few years ago might have it appraised for $175,000 or more now," Hutto said.

State-mandated reappraisal last occurred in Wilson County in 2011 - which Pratt explained was when the real estate market had bottomed. He said that appraisal numbers are based on qualified sales - not foreclosures or auctions.

In 2011, there were 1,096 qualified sales totaling under $234 million. Current figures based on 2015 sales showed 2,756 qualified sales totaling over $656 million.

Property located closer to the Greater Nashville area increased significantly in value, as well as lakefront property.

Still some worry what this means for their property tax.

"They will come in and lower the tax rate so that property tax will be about the same," Hutto said, noting that the county commission can vote on a tax increase any year - not just in years when the state issues reappraisals.

"The tax rate will be set by the County Commission in the coming budget. That will be approved at our August meeting (Aug. 29th)," Hutto added.

"There is a lot of speculation out there because schools are needed and some prices of school buildings came in higher (than estimated). That may cause an increase. As we go through the budget process we will learn what we need and how much new growth dollars are in the county."

Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at sgarrett@wilsonpost.com.

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