Two public hearings have been scheduled to discuss the fiscal year 2023-24 tax rate for the city of Oak Ridge North, which is pending final approval at an Aug. 28 meeting.

What you need to know

City Council approved the proposed voter-approval rate of $0.4043 per $100 valuation for consideration during the Aug. 7 council meeting. The voter-approval rate is the highest rate a taxing entity can set without needing an election.

While council members spoke in favor of approving the no-new-revenue rate for the city, which would generate the same amount of revenue as fiscal year 2022-23, City Manager Heather Neeley informed council that the best option would be to propose the voter-approval rate. The higher rate would allow flexibility in the event of lower property tax revenue collection, and the council can still pick a lower tax rate at the hearing, she said.

Oak Ridge North in 2022 approved a FY 2022-23 tax rate of $0.4248 per $100 valuation.

Two public hearings have been scheduled for Aug. 21 and Aug. 28.

The details

Neeley said the rates council could choose from were:
  • No-new-revenue tax rate: $0.4043 per $100 valuation
  • Voter-approval rate: $0.4268 per $100 valuation
If adopted, the voter-approval rate would provide an additional $30,000-$40,000 in property tax revenue for the budget, Neeley said. However, City Council members said they did not want to raise the tax rate due to increasing home appraisals generating more revenue.

Despite being called the voter-approval rate, an election is not required if that rate is adopted. If a tax rate higher than the voter-approval rate is selected, then an election could be possible.

What they’re saying

“I don’t particularly care to raise taxes just to cover any potential shortfall; we can’t do that,” Council Member Alex Jones said.

“You can always go down; you cannot go higher,” Neeley said. “So if anything changes between now and Aug. 28, when we approve everything, we cannot go any higher than [the voter-approval rate].”