Sep 4 2019

Our City of Alcoa property taxes increased by nearly 40% this year. That's a little shocking.

The increase is two parts, property appraisal and tax rate. Our property was appraised 20% higher than before. The property tax rate increased 15.8%, from 1.96 per $100 to $2.27 per $100.

The appraised property value increase does not appear to be unique to certain areas in Alcoa. I have seen reported on social media where people living in different areas of Alcoa have had high property tax increases and are also shocked.

In 2015, our property appraisal was reduced by nearly 20%, reducing our property tax by nearly 20%. The property tax rate was 1.96 per $100 at the time. Thus, for four years our City of Alcoa property taxes were lower than before. In 2010, our property appraisal was increased by 6.2%.

The last time the City of Alcoa property tax rate of 1.96 per $100 was changed was in 2010, when it was 2.10 per $100. Thus, the property tax rate has not been changed in nine years.

Oh, and since the property appraisals increase there will be an increase in Blount County property taxes as well.

From a June 11, 2019, Daily Times report on a City of Alcoa Commission meeting:

“This tax increase is to replace the revenues we’ve basically lost in actual dollars and lack of growth in our revenues over the past three or four years,” City Manager Mark Johnson told commissioners.

Johnson told gathered city officials during a May budget workshop that a combination of issues had damaged the city’s fiscal intake including an error in airport revenue, losses resulting from a combination of the state’s internet sales tax system and Alcoa’s demographics, current property taxes and consumption taxes. The result left the city nearly $1 million in the red.

He [Johnson] went on to note there were two theories of tax increases. Some governments choose to increase taxes gradually and some to increase when needed. He said Alcoa had chosen the “when needed” model.

Proactive vs reactive???

The Alcoa city manager and city commissioners seem to be putting a lot of their eggs in the new commercial developement at the old Alcoa Aluminum Company West Plant site off of Hall Road. We can only hope it goes better than the Pellissippi Place development on Old Knoxville Hwy (Maryville Pike), which was announced in 2008, and is nothing as planned. If not, we'll really be hurting.

You have to wonder if the City of Alcoa is doing a good job planning property tax increases/decreases. Forty percent is a lot in one jump. According to the U.S. Census, it is estimated that Alcoa's population has increased by 25.1% in eight years, from 8,390 in 2010 to 10,499 in 2018. Is the City of Alcoa having financial trouble?

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