Metro Property Tax Increase – The Double-Edged Sword

It costs a lot to run the “world class city”  that Nashville has become and I don’t envy Mayor Karl Dean one bit!     CLICK HERE  to learn more about the Mayor’s proposed property tax increase.

Nashville businessman Lee Beaman contributed an interesting opinion with his letter-to-the-editor this past Sunday.  CLICK HERE to read his opinion.  (Please pay little attention to the class-envy comments that some made.  We can be assured the Beaman family pays more than their fair share in taxes to Metro.)

Karl Dean is right.  Nashville needs more revenue to continue and expand the services that we all demand and expect.  New schools need to be built.  Old school buildings are in disrepair.  Metro employees need raises.  Road improvements need to be scheduled.  Our aging infrastructure needs to be replaced in many areas.  We need more parks to add to our quality of life.

Most importantly, Nashville really needs a better and more boater-friendly Riverfront Park!   The riverfront areas of Knoxville, Chattanooga, and even Clarksville beat ours.

Lee Beaman is right too.  Increasing property taxes do make property values fall.  Maybe not all at once, but they will fall.  Look at Memphis and Shelby County. 

So, the average Nashville family will pay $192 more per year.   That $192 translates to approximately $3,000 in home purchase affordability.  Those that barely qualify for the “$145,400 median home value” in Davidson County will now only qualify for approximately $142,400 under the new tax rates.  Maybe not devastating, but enough to rattle the cup…especially when it may be yours!

The value of a piece of property is directly related to what a person or business can afford to pay for it.  Then, the more the value falls, the more the tax rate has to go up to generate the same revenue.  A vicious cycle.

What is the answer?  There’s not a good one.  No answer will  be popular to everyone, but it really is time to think outside of the box. 

The answer is simple.  We need a larger property tax base.  We need more families moving into Davidson County.  We need more businesses locating within the county limits.   We need people spending more money in Davidson County. 

It all starts with affordable housing, balanced with quality of life, and convenience.  Why wouldn’t someone working in Davidson County choose to live here?  We have got to eliminate those reasons to begin solving the problems.

Our surrounding counties do not have a football stadium to support, yet their citizens enjoy it.   They do not have the responsibility of a world-class arena, but their citizens pack it.  None of those counties have an international airport to maintain.  Some don’t have an airport at all!

Before you get the tomatoes, I am not advocating charging out-of-county residents more for airline flights, concerts, Titans, and Predator tickets.  We need every seat filled that we can get!  But it would be nice to have a “Metro Resident Discount.”

What about employers offering a “Metro Resident” pay incentive?  That incentive could come from TDOT, who could then slow down interstate constructon projects a bit!  

Then, if we could just make it less cumbersome for developers and builders to provide new, affordable housing in areas that already have needed infrastructure, we’d be off to a good start!

Nashville New Homes: An active riverfront adds to quality of life.

Nashville is very fortunate to have a navigable waterway running right through the middle of downtown.  For many years, the civic importance of this feature was overlooked to concentrate only on its commercial benefits.  In the early 1980’s former Mayor Richard Fulton realized this waterway was a jewel to compliment our quality-of-life.  In January of 1983 he dedicated Riverfront Park, much as we see it today.

Since that time, the cityscape surrounding Nashville’s Riverfront Park has changed considerably.  Downtown Nashville is vibrant, the east bank of the river now houses LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans, and areas that once were industrial now lie dormant for the most part, waiting for their next purpose.

In the mid-2000’s, a commission was formed to explore re-development of Nashville’s riverfront.  Many feasible ideas came from this “open-to-the-public” forum, and also a few ideas that will probably never see the light of day.  But so what…. aim for the moon and hit a few stars!

Under the leadership of Mayor Karl Dean, progress is underway for the first phase of Nashville’s riverfront redevelopment.  Read the full story on the groundbreaking this past October:

http://www.nashville.gov/mayor/news/2010/1005.asp

This is exciting news for Nashville, especially during lackluster economic times.  Take a look at what we can expect this summer on the east bank of the Cumberland River:

And there is even proposed docking for boats along the east bank as well, making Titans games all the better!  (Hopefully they will have electrical service for overnight docking)

The re-development of our Riverfront Park even has its own website.  View first hand the great improvements that are coming in the future!    

http://www.nashvilleriverfront.org/    While checking out that website, don’t miss taking a look at what other future improvements will look like:

http://www.nashvilleriverfront.org/downloads.html

Even without the future improvements, Nashville’s Riverfront Park still has a lot to offer.  There is docking for boats on each side of the river.  Boaters can dock on the east side and enjoy a Titans home game, or dock on the west side and enjoy the sights and sounds that downtown has to offer.  Electricity (30 & 50 amp) and water services are only available on the west (downtown) side.  Docking reservations can be made by calling 615.862.8472.

I do have one major beef with Metro Parks & Recreation, who oversees Riverfront Park.  For years, boaters were allowed to make reservations for dockage during holiday festivities.  These reservations were extremely hard to get.  The first year we secured a reservation to enjoy July 4th fireworks,  we were elated! 

Then Mayor Bill Purcell, through Metro Parks, cancelled all docking priviledges at Riverfront Park during holidays due to “homeland security concerns.”  The docks remain closed to boaters on most holidays and special events to this day.  “Homeland security concerns” my ass. 

But all is not lost.  We do live in America and can still throw out our anchors above the Korean Veterans Bridge, or the Woodland Street Bridge…which is exactly what we do.   Hopefully, new re-development plans will be more boater-friendly, like they are now in Knoxville and Chattanooga!  Take a look at what those cities have done:

Knoxville’s Riverfront Park is pictured above.  Chattanooga’s Riverfront Park aerial view below:

Speaking of July 4th, Nashville’s fireworks displays are among the highest rated in the nation.  Here is what we have in store for July 4, 2011:

http://nashville.about.com/b/2010/06/15/2010-music-city-july-4th-fireworks-spectacular-let-freedom-sing.htm

Our riverfront is there for your enjoyment!    This redevelopment project deserves participation from all Nashvillians, so please communicate support to Metro Council members every chance you get!   

Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new home sales in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, and Spring Hill, Tennessee