The Cheatham County commission has taken another step in securing an expanded jail after voting to raise property taxes in a July 22 meeting.
In a 7-4 vote, the commission approved a property tax increase of 14.22 cents. That makes the new rate $2.4766 per $100 of assessed value.
Ten cents of the increased tax will go toward the fund to build a new jail, which will be added to the existing 4-cent fund. Together, the taxes will bring in about $1.4 million per year to finance the new facility, County Mayor Kerry McCarver said.
Over 4 cents of the increase will pay for three new jailers and a $200,000 contract with Montgomery County jail, which is where Cheatham County’s overflow inmates are housed, McCarver said.
Home values were reassessed by the state this year and went up about 29 percent overall in Cheatham County, McCarver said in the meeting. The state uses these assessments to set the county’s certified rate, which must generate the same amount of tax revenue as the previous year.
As valuations went up this year, the state reduced the certified rate in the county from $2.93 to $2.3344 per $100 of valuation.
“If we were not facing a jail issue, this certified tax rate works,” Chairman Donnie Jordan said in the meeting. “And remember this, the people that are forcing the new jail is the state of Tennessee, not anyone at this table.”
Jordan explained that the county’s growth has also prompted preparations for the construction and operation of a new school in the future. To plan for this, the commission can either approve multiple smaller tax increases in the next few years or one big increase later, he said.
In the commission’s discussions, the consensus has been that smaller increases are easier on the residents, he said.
“None of us in this room enjoy raising taxes,” Jordan said. “None of us.”
The annual budget also included funds for a near 3 percent raise to all county employees, McCarver said. This pay boost, which did not require a tax increase, was added to match the latest cost of living rate posted by the federal government, McCarver said.