NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Mayor John Cooper filed his recommended budget for the 2021 fiscal year with Metro Council. The $2.447 billion budget includes raising the city’s property tax by almost 32% to recover from the financial impact of the March tornado and the COVID-19 shutdown.
The Metro Finance Department estimates that the city will experience an estimated revenue decline of more than $470 million due to the tornado and pandemic.
The decline in revenue during Q4 of the 2020 fiscal year forced Metro to cut expenditures and spend down remaining fund balances, leaving Metro with only $12 million of fund balances.
“This is an unprecedented and difficult time for all Nashvillians,” said Mayor Cooper. “Thousands of residents have lost their jobs during the pandemic, and that makes the necessary decision to raise taxes all the more difficult. And as I mentioned during the State of Metro address, the city has thinned its cash reserves to a point where we find ourselves without a rainy-day fund during a stormy season. This is a crisis budget – not a discretionary budget – that will ensure Metro and Metro Nashville Public Schools can continue to meet our community’s needs.”
Cooper said the 32% property tax hike would bring the current rate of $3.155 up to $4.155, which is still the lowest property tax rate of all major Tennessee cities. A homeowner would pay an extra $750 a year for a $300,000 home. The last property tax increase in Metro Nashville was in 2012.
Over the past 25 years, Metro’s combined property tax rate has averaged $4.30. In the five years prior to the current historically low rate that began in FY2018, the combined rate averaged $4.545.