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Collierville Residents Could See Property Tax Hike To Cover Deficit

COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - There could be sticker shock for thousands of Collierville homeowners as town leaders consider a large property tax hike.

Collierville's town administrator is recommending aldermen raise property taxes and not give employee raises the next budget year, in order to climb out of a $2 million deficit.

The 20-cent hike would be the second largest year to year property tax increase in more than two decades in this community.

While it isn't welcome news to many in Collierville, town leaders said it's necessary to avoid layoffs and service cuts.  

“It's hard to put a positive spin on a tax increase,” said Collierville Town Administrator James Lewellen. “With the tax increase, we break even, there's no deficit anymore.”

Lewellen doesn't want to raise property taxes by 20-cents next year, which would force all those who own $250,000 homes to pay $125 more a year.

“We'd tried to set a tax rate that will hold us at least three or four years,” said Lewellen.

Lewellen said the property tax increase is necessary because of flat sales tax revenues at places like Carriage Crossing, and the phasing out of the hall tax collected on investments. “We've been flat for 2 or 3 years, there's no explanation for that, we are blaming the internet on that,” Lewellen said about sales tax revenues being down.

Collierville's nearly 500 employees would also not get a pay increase next year in another cost saving measure.

“We told employees that we will do pay raises next year. We have to do pay raises, the market, we have to do be competitive, we have to do for our employees what everybody else is doing for theirs,” said Lewellen.

Collierville homeowners we caught up with gave mixed reviews the proposed property tax increase.

“Something needs to be done, that's way too much, way too much,” said Anthony Wooten.

“It's not going in someone's pocket, it's going out to all the people who live in Collierville,” said Yash Chopra.

“I guess to support what's coming, I guess we have to expect some kind of increase,” said Michelle Hailey.

“They are constantly raising it up every year, that's too much, and we're barely making it now,” said Vinella Lesueur.

According to the town administrator, aldermen are expected to okay the increased property tax rate. Lewellen said if this proposed tax increase is approved, he expects there won’t be another one needed for three or four years.

A public hearing is planned May 29th, and final approval is expected at the June 11th meeting. 

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