Cleveland City Manager Janice Casteel explained Monday that Bradley County reappraises property on a four-year cycle. The property tax rate is adjusted up or down depending on the total value of real and personal property in the county. Some tax bills may increase. Some may decrease or stay the same. Overall, city and county government cannot take in more revenue in the year following a property re-evaluation.
“Because the appraisal went down, the rate has to go up because you as a city or a county are guaranteed the same revenue that you received in the previous year. That’s why the tax rate must go up,” Casteel said. “You can expect your property tax rate to increase from $1.49 that it is today to $1.55 (per $100 of appraised value) and then on top of that, we’ll be adding 18.51 cents for our budget for next year, so your new rate would be $1.7351,” Casteel said. “That is if the certified rate stays at $1.55.”
Casteel advised Council members not to adopt the new tax rate until after the appeals process is over. She said the new rate could go up or down a small amount depending on the number filed and the outcome of appeals filed with County Tax Assessor Stanley Thompson.
She said property owners have two weeks to appeal to the county assessor’s office and then it goes to the Board of Equalization before June 8.
“This is the first time the re-evaluation process has required us to increase tax rates. Every time before, tax rates would decrease. That’s what is so unusual this time, that property values in Cleveland and Bradley County have gone down,” she said.
The Council unanimously approved all of the following agenda items:
Resolution 2013-36 authorized Mayor Tom Rowland to sign an application for a Cops Hiring Grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. The grant covers up to 75 percent of the approved entry-level salary and fringe benefits of each new-hired or rehired, full-time law enforcement officer over a three-year period.
If approved, the city would be eligible for up to a maximum of $500,000 of grant funding for four officers. The maximum federal share would be $125,000 per officer. The grant would require the city to cover at least 25 percent of the cost of the salary and fringe benefits of these officers.
Another grant request for the Cleveland Police Department was approved under the consent agenda. The 2013 Bureau of Justice Assistant Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant would pay $18,574 with equal matches of $9,287 each from the state and city.
One item was removed from the consent agenda at the request of At-Large Councilman Richard Banks and placed under new business. Banks does not vote on business related to the Spring Creek Industrial Park because he is a brother-in-law of Allan Jones. Jones sold the industrial park site to the industrial development board. The sale was funded in part by the city of Cleveland. The Council voted 6-0 to approve a change order for the Local Interstate Connector South contingent on Bradley County Commission approval. The change order in the amount of $37,751 was for extending the contract for construction engineering and inspection services provided by Smith, Seckman and Reid for LIC-South. The extension is due to an extension of 24 days with Steve Williams Construction Co. The services are required by the state of Tennessee.
All items under the consent agenda were unanimously approved:
- Ordinance 2013-17: final passage to abandon a section of unopened right of way in Mikel Subdivision located in the vicinity of Ridgeview Drive N.W., Thompson Lane N.W., and Wynwood Drive N.W.;
- Ordinance 2013-18: final passage to abandon an unopened section of 17th Street N.E. between Clemmer Street N.E. and Carolina Avenue N.E.;
- Ordinance 2013-20: approved annexation and zoning of about 11.8 acres located in the Old Freewill Road area including Silver Springs Subdivision;
- Resolution 2013-33: for a 2012 tax refund to UPS Inc. in the amount of $281;
- Resolution 2013-34: authorizing Mayor Tom Rowland to sign a contract with Tennessee Department of Transportation for State Highway Maintenance;
- Resolution 2013-35: approval of the 2013-2014 Action Plan for the Community Development Block Grant Funds;
- Street Light Recommendation: Cleveland Utilities recommends no additional lighting in the 400 block of 4th Street S.E. because it meets city guidelines;
- Street Light Recommendation: Cleveland Utilities recommends no additional lighting in the 2000 block of Laurel Springs Drive N.W. because it meets city guidelines;
- Street Light Recommendation: Cleveland Utilities recommends no additional lighting in the in the 300 block of Baldwin Street S.E. because it is not inside the city limits.
Assistant City Manager Melinda Carroll gave an update on the sale of surplus guns by the police department. The guns were declared surplus because ammunition was no longer available for the weapons. She said the surplus semiautomatic guns were used as trade-ins on new guns. The city received $11,286 that was applied to the purchase of new guns, which left the city paying $7,000.
The May 27 Council meetings will be held May 28 due to the Memorial Day Holiday. Also, the public hearing for the FY2014 Budget will be held on May 28 at 3 p.m.