Knoxville mayor proposes 50-cent increase in property tax rate

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (WATE) – Mayor Indya Kincannon delivered her State of the City address Friday afternoon at the site of the future Knoxville Public Safety Complex and announced proposed budget priorities for fiscal year 2022- 23, which include a 50-cent increase in the property tax rate and higher salaries for first responders and municipal workers.

“Knoxville is on a roll,” Kincannon said as she began her first in-person State of the City address. She said the proposed 50-cent increase in property taxes was needed to cope with the city’s rapid growth, rising inflation and increased calls for municipal services.

The proposal would increase the property tax rate to $2.9638 per $100 of assessed value. Under the proposal, a residential taxpayer with a home valued at $100,000 would pay about $10 more in monthly property taxes and the owner of a home valued at $500,000 would pay about $52 more per month.

According to the city, 80% of the increase in property tax revenue would go to funding people and the costs of basic services like police, fire, public works and other government employees. Additional funding requests such as for a new litter program, Medal of Honor and BassMaster events would account for 19% of increased tax revenue and the remaining 1% of new revenue would go to increased retirement costs.

The address came at a time when Knoxville residents are in the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, seeing rising housing and living costs as well as a growing population; and the city itself is grappling with an increase in calls to emergency services as well as more than 130 vacancies in the city.

Kincannon also said the proposed $546 million budget focuses on infrastructure, affordable housing and retaining quality employees so the city can continue to serve. The budget she presented on Friday includes a $16 million increase in salaries for city employees.

“Like all administrations in recent history, we are at a crossroads,” Kincannon said. “Are we going to reduce city services? Are we short of money…? Or are we planning to generate new revenue to fill in the gaps? »

The mayor said his proposed budget will not only seek to improve key issues facing residents and the city amid rising inflation and staff shortages, but will also prepare the city for its future.

She also recognized the city’s first responders, urging them to rise, and she called out to them and other city workers who responded to recent weather events and city hero emergencies.

Kincannon also said the budget proposes a $15/hour minimum wage for full-time city employees.

“It’s not just the right thing to do for our hard-working employees, but to keep our city safe and reliable…our first responders have always had our backs and now is the time for us to support them” , she said.

Affordable housing was also a point she touched on in her speech, saying that while the city can’t build housing, it can create more partnerships.

“Our economy needs more affordable housing,” she said. “We do our part in the community to make sure our families can afford to thrive.”

The full proposed city budget is available on the city’s website.

Penny D. Jackson