Germantown discusses 44.5-cent property tax increase - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Germantown discusses 44.5-cent property tax increase

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Germantown City Administrator Patrick Lawton Germantown City Administrator Patrick Lawton

(WMC-TV) - Germantown city leaders are discussing a 44.5-cent property tax increase.

The Germantown City Administrator, Patrick Lawton, said the drop in property values mean taxes must go up to keep city coffers level. They hope to generate $4.7 million.

"There's a lot if money, I don't think, is being spent wisely," said resident Maggie Wells.

Maggie and Steven Wells have mixed reactions to the imminent tax hike in Germantown.

"I guess I understand the reasoning behind it," said Steven.

Lawton said the tax hike would be, in addition, to a raise in county property taxes and the recent municipal schools sales tax hike.

"A kind of new normal as economists put it," he said. "That half-cent sales tax is separate from the property tax."

It's all because Germantown property values dropped 4.6 percent in this year's reassessment.

"I am surprised some of the values in our neighborhood how low they went," said Maggie.

Lawson said the post-recession era also brought a dip in local sales tax income. The property tax hike would mean the annual bill for the average Germantown taxpayers in a $250,000 home would go from $928.13 to $1,206,26.

"We have to increase our property tax base to get back to square one, if you will," said Lawton.

Without impacting services, the city is making short and long term cuts, including benefits.

"Any new employees hired after July 1, 2013 will go into a new plan," said Lawton.

They will switch to cheaper mandatory mail order prescription drugs, raise employer health care co-pays and premiums, and lower how much money the city puts into the retirement plan.

"All of those things save the city dollars without impacting our device levels," said Lawton.

The preliminary budget will be presented to the Germantown citizens' Financial Advisory Committee Tuesday. The aldermen will vote on it May 13.

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