Protest against proposed Carter County property tax increase

Carter County Courthouse, meeting place for the County Commission.

CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. - The Carter County Commission is set to vote on a property tax hike Monday. But not before opponents show up in protest at the around the veteran's monument in front of the Carter County Courthouse.

Of high interest to homeowners, the county's budget committee is putting forward a resolution to raise the property tax to $2,49, up four cents from last year. The increase is designed to bump up wages for county employees, who haven't had an increase in several years.

"Well our employees have not had any increases," Budget Committee Chairwoman Sonja Culler said. "We gave them a bonus a couple years ago that cost them 25 percent right off the bat. Many of our employees have been here 30, 35 years, and they're working for very, very low pay."

Culler said if you own a $100,000 house, you'll pay $10 more in taxes.

"I realize we have an older generation," she said. "I realize that they own property, and they have for many years. And they don't want to get rid of it. But the things about it is that everything is increasing, and we don't think that 4 cents is that big of an increase."

Some are not convinced though. Protestors don't want a tax increase at all. Carter County Citizens in Action Secretary Jean Rhea said that the county needs line-by-line budget cuts. County Mayor Leon Humphrey also thinks commissioners need to look elsewhere for funding.

"It's my understanding that we're going to be bringing in an additional $400,000+ in revenue," Humphrey said.

If the commissioners are split, Mayor Humphrey holds a tie-breaker vote.

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