The Hill reports, Nashville Mayor John Cooper filed his recommended budget for the 2021 fiscal year and proposed a 31.7 percent increase in property taxes – the first tax increase since 2012.
Cooper said the 32% property tax increase would bring the current rate of $3.155 up to $4.155.
“This is a crisis budget,” Cooper said at a city council meeting Tuesday, the Tennessean reported.
The mayor’s office projected that Nashville will suffer a revenue decline of more than $470 million over a 16-month period due to the tornado and pandemic.
Nashville received funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to respond to tornado damage, but city leaders have said it’s not enough to cover the total losses. The city will need to “slow down, cut back, trim, slice and save” in order to maintain stability, the mayor said.
“Thousands of residents have lost their jobs during the pandemic, and that makes the necessary decision to raise taxes all the more difficult,” Cooper said. “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.”
Cooper said the tax hike would avoid laying off city employees.
The budget does not have an easy road ahead, the city has a history of voting down tax increases and some council members quickly responded by saying it is not what the city needs. “If any council members don’t want to approve this let us know and we will have to begin mass layoffs,” Cooper said.