Sneak Attack On Dual Taxpayers

Now Mr. Haynes wishes to farm out the cost of reappraisal to individual cities for their residents. This amounts to nothing more than a cost shift out of his office to city taxpayers that were already paying the expense through their county taxes. So taxpayers of Signal Mountain, Red Bank, Lakesite, Soddy Daisy, Collegedale, Chattanooga, East Ridge, Walden, Ridgeside, Lookout Mountain, please consider this. Your last property appraisal was paid from your Hamilton County taxes. If the Hamilton County Commissioners approve the request to cost shift the reappraisal fees to all municipalities and towns, your next appraisal will ding you twice for one job.

The only fair way to fund Hamilton County property appraisals is the way it has always been done. All those that own property in Hamilton County should be appraised and billed equally from the taxes Hamilton County already collects and that all Hamilton County taxpayers already pay. Keep in mind the appraiser’ s office does not suggest any reduction in Hamilton County taxes to those that would be paying a second time after the tax shift occurs.  The appraiser well knows it would be illegal to reduce taxes for some county taxpayers, even if the cost responsibility was shifted. The net effect of his proposal would allow him to shift the expense while maintaining the same revenue stream. What a sweet deal for the appraiser’s office.

This is yet another example of how those living in towns or cities, which happen to also lie in Hamilton County, are double tax abused. If this outrageous expense dumping is approved, the abused would like Mr. Haynes to explain who will pay for the appraisals for those living in the unincorporated portions of Hamilton County. We know the unincorporated taxpayers will not be paying a second portion for their same tax appraisals, so how will he be treating all county citizens equally and fairly?  While the assessor’s office is financially supported by all citizens that pay county taxes, the unincorporated folks will feel no additional pain from the expense shifting. Not fair.

We can be certain that when someone tries to defend this sneak attack, they will mention that the same property assessments are used to compute tax rates for both city and county properties. It has always been this way for good reason. Assuming his county appraisers use a standard market value basis for appraising (and they do), there is no reason for the city and county to separately appraise the same property twice, because the state dictates all assessments must occur in the same year regardless of where in the state the property is located. Common sense has always driven the process.

Mr. Haynes, we dual taxpayers understand what you are doing and we do not appreciate this new idea. Paying a double expense for the single task of property reappraisals is not worth the benefit of an offer to extend your office hours from 4-5 p.m. Many of us cannot recall the last time we visited your office, unless it was to protest an inflated appraisal. We would encourage you to rethink this ill-conceived move. We would remind you that the majority of county voters, who will be paying the double expense, reside in the cities and towns of Hamilton County. According to the latest U.S. Census data 2014-2015, the collective majority of dual county and city-town taxpaying voters constitutes about 62 percent of Hamilton County residents. It’s a large bloc of voters to discriminate against. Don’t forget commercial property owners. Please understand the magnitude of all the frustrated double-taxed people.