City Council

The Murfreesboro City Council voted Thursday to raise the property tax rate by 34 cents per $100 assessed value. Pictured, from left, are Ronnie Martin, Vice Mayor Madelyn Scales Harris and Mayor Shane McFarland.

Murfreesboro homeowners will pay 35.8 percent more on their city property taxes and still face a 9.5 percent increase on their county property taxes.

The Murfreesboro City Council on Thursday voted 6-1 to approve a 34-cent property tax increase, meaning the city’s tax rate will increase from $0.9494 per $100 assessed value to $1.2894 per $100 assessed value, a 35.8 percent increase.

The Rutherford County Commission will hold only one vote on its proposed tax increase. That vote is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, June 26. A public hearing will be held Monday, June 17 at 7 p.m.

But Murfreesboro’s tax increase is official.

Voting for the city tax increase on second reading were Mayor Shane McFarland; Bill Shacklett; Ronnie Martin; Vice Mayor Madelyn Scales Harris; Eddie Smotherman; and Kirt Wade. Rick LaLance voted against the tax increase.

The residential garbage collection fee will increase by $2.50 per can per month on July 1. It currently is $5 per can per month, so the new bill will be $7.50. The city had considered a $5 increase to $10.

Murfreesboro’s new property tax rate is $1.2894 per $100 of assessed value.

Assuming your house is valued at $200,000, multiply that by 25 percent, which would be $50,000. Multiply that amount by 1.2894 for a total of $64,470. Divide that total by 100 for your new city tax bill of $644.70.

Prior to the property tax vote, Scales Harris said that in the prior day’s meeting, during the first read, she had struggled with the matter. She said she “had a chance to dissect” it and to pray.

“I came in tonight with a perfect peace about the taxes,” she said.

She made an analogy to making a cake: People see the finished product, but the council makes the cake using flour and sugar.

“And we want it to be enjoyable with everyone, but sometimes that’s not the case,” Scales Harris said. “I am not comfortable with it.”

Scales Harris said she had spoken about the tax increase with homeless and senior residents.

The proposed amount “is too quick, too hard,” she said, drawing applause from the audience. She told the audience not to applaud. She also said she did not want to cast the only vote against the tax increase “because it’s the whole budget and we need to be unanimous.” She said she wanted to bring the level down. She said that some residents may be able to take advantage of a property tax freeze.

Scales Harris cast a vote for the tax increase.

McFarland said he would like to see a mechanism created to help homeowners who are age 65 or older and have owned their home for 20 years to have a property tax freeze that does not depend on their incomes.

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