Here's why Oak Ridge North will raise its tax rate in FY 2018-19

The city of Oak Ridge North adopted its new budget on Aug. 27 and increased the property tax rate for residents.[/caption]

The city of Oak Ridge North adopted its fiscal year 2018-19 budget Aug. 27, which projects an increased property tax rate for the first time in seven years to address drainage projects in the city.

City officials said the property tax rate for FY 2018-19 is $0.4816 per $100 valuation, an increase compared to the $0.44 rate from FY 2017-18. The rate is expected to generate $795,607 in property tax revenue for the city.

Heather Neeley, assistant to the city manager, said the tax rate increase will help maintain city services.

“We haven’t increased tax rates since 2011—it’s been lowered or stayed flat,” Neeley said. “But the types of services we’ve been offering have stayed the same, so we’re just trying to keep up with that.”

Mayor Jim Kuykendall said he believes the city has continuously tried to keep taxes lower for residents.

“Over the past years, the city of Oak Ridge North has reduced tax rates by 19 cents per $100 valuation.” he said.
“We are now faced with the prospect of raising taxes because we have some drainage issues.”

The city has budgeted $359,359 for the water line replacement, which will be on Robinson Road to Paula Lane and along the I-45 northbound frontage road. The city also budgeted $350,000 for engineering services for the Robinson Road realignment project.

City officials said sales tax revenue is expected to remain flat. The city’s projected sales tax revenue amount in FY 2017-18 was $2.08 million.

“We are keeping [revenue projections] at the same rate without knowing any new businesses coming in,” Neeley said. “We estimated about $2 million this year and are estimating the same for next year.”