Property tax bills on their way: Bills likely to be higher than last year thanks to road loan, school referendum

Brown County property owners can expect an increase in their tax bills this year as a result of school referendums and a $2 million road loan.

Spring tax bills will be mailed Monday, April 10, and payments will be due by Wednesday, May 10.

“Some people’s are going to be more of a percentage (difference) than others,” Chief Deputy Auditor Crissie Oaldon said.

A home in Washington Township valued at around $150,000 will pay around $40 more in county and around $100 more in school taxes.

Compared to 2016, that’s about 13 percent increase for county and 19 percent increase for school taxes.

The Brown County Council approved taking out a $2 million road loan in January 2016.

Commissioner Diana Biddle said that the majority of the road loan funds will be used this year as the county plans to pave 20 to 25 miles of county roads. This is in addition to the almost 21 miles of county roads that will be paved with a state road grant the county received last year.

“If we do not have any unforeseen challenges, like weather, we could pave as much as 45 to 50 miles of county roads this year,” Biddle said.

In 2015, Biddle said the county would “indefinitely” be doing a $2 million loan every two years, adding a new one as the old one is paid off.

Another bump in tax rates comes from Brown County Schools collecting 9 cents of every $100 of assessed property value from referendums — but only for this year. Next year, that rate will be 8 cents; it is currently 1 cent.

Last May, voters approved adding 8 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to the schools’ tax rate for seven years. The first referendum voters passed for the district in 2010 was a 1-cent rate that directly funded the Brown County Career Resource Center. It was to last for seven years as well, but the school board said last year that they would end it at six.

However, last month, the school board learned that that the Department of Local Government Finance is requiring the district to collect the tax rates from both referendums for property taxes due this year because of the way the ballot questions were worded.

How it works

Tax bills are calculated based on assessed value of property in the county.

For tax year 2016 — which is paid in 2017 — the total net assessed value of property in the county was $1,520,583,285.

That’s up slightly from the previous year; for tax year 2015, it was $1,487,839,525.

“It pretty much grows a little bit every year,” Assessor Mari Miller said of the assessed value.

Sometimes, a higher AV means higher property taxes.

“It depends on whether or not a unit has hit its maximum levy already,” Miller said.

A levy is the amount of money a government unit can collect through taxes. The state gives each taxing unit in the county — like the solid waste district, conservancy districts, townships, town or county government — a maximum levy.

“Whatever the budget amount is and what your maximum levy is (determines) what the tax rate is going to be,” Miller said.

If a department requests more money in its budget than usual, that also can cause an increase in tax rates.

Oaldon said county government departments don’t often ask for more than necessary in their budgets.

Not paying tax bills on time also causes individual bills to go up, Miller said.

If taxes aren’t paid by the due date, a 5 percent fee is added if the current installment is the only one unpaid, Treasurer Mary Smith said. If multiple installments are unpaid, the fee is 10 percent.

Smith said taxpayers can pay their entire tax bill for the year in the spring, or they can split it up and pay the other half in the fall. Fall bills will be due Nov. 10.

Bills can be paid at the treasurer’s office using cash, check or card, but a nearly 4 percent fee is charged to use a credit or debit card. The treasurer’s office, on the lower floor of the County Office Building, is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

“People need to bring their entire bill when they come in (to pay),” Smith said. “That’s for us in here, because if they don’t, we’re going to have to stop and print it then it’s going to take longer to get them in and out.”

Online payments can be made at invoicecloud.com/browncountyin by clicking on “real estate taxes.”

BMV tax increase

Property taxes aren’t the only taxes increasing this year. They’re also going up at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

In order to raise money to fix roads, the Brown County Council voted last summer to increase local vehicle taxes starting Jan. 1.

Under the rates the council approved, the minimum to be paid on older vehicles will increase by $7.50 per year. The tax on trailers under 9,000 pounds will go up by $20 and on trailers over 9,000 pounds by $30.

The approved rates are estimated to raise $502,141.75 in new revenue in 2017, Brown County Auditor Beth Mulry said.

The county won’t be the only beneficiary of the increase. Nashville government also stands to receive an additional $13,403.25.

“In order for the county to get the money they can get as far as taxes and things from the BMV, we had to do that increase this year,” Oaldon said.

By the numbers

Tax year 2015, payable 2016 total tax rates:

$1.3404 Nashville

$1.0263 Van Buren Township

$1.0021 Washington Township

$1.0576 Hamblen Township

$1.0249 Jackson Township

$1.5257 Hamblen/Conservancy District

$1.2336 Jackson/Conservancy District

Tax year 2016, payable 2017 total tax rates:

$1.5178 Nashville

$1.2012 Van Buren Township

$1.1775 Washington Township

$1.2241 Hamblen Township

$1.2002 Jackson Township

$1.5289 Hamblen/Conservancy District

$1.4066 Jackson/Conservancy District

Source: Brown County Auditor’s Office

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Suzannah Couch grew up in Brown County, reading the Brown County Democrat. A 2013 Franklin College graduate, she covers business, cops/courts, education and arts/entertainment.