Home builders

Robertson County leaders raise taxes on home builders to fund schools

Robertson County commissioners hope to raise money for schools by adding 30 cents per square foot to the lien tax on new residential construction projects.

The move comes three years after commissioners lowered the lien tax to 70 cents per square foot from $ 2 in a bid to promote growth and get home builders to work in Robertson County.

“We have schools coming up and we need to find a way to pay for them,” Robertson County Budget Committee chairman Keith Hoover said at the committee’s December meeting.

Coopertown Elementary project looms

A week earlier, the Robertson County School Board took a big step forward in what is expected to be a multi-million dollar renovation to Coopertown Elementary School and hired a Clarksville architect to begin drawing up designs. plans. The project is expected to move forward quickly in the new year and could reach commissioners for a fundraising vote as early as February, school board president Jeff White said in a previous interview.

Commissioner Bob Hogan, whose wife Connie sits on the school board, said the lien tax was a one-time fee and was designed to be minimal.

Robertson County Mayor Billy Vogle echoed the sentiment.

“Everyone around us costs about a dollar a foot,” he said of neighbors in Robertson County.

The resolution to increase the lien tax initially began in the Commission’s budget committee, Hoover said, noting that the original recommendation was to double the old fee to $ 1.40 per square foot.

“It was then sent to the Adequate Facilities Tax (committee), which recommended $ 1 per square foot with a cap of $ 4,500 (before it went to budget). The budget committee removed the cap and kept it at $ 1 per square foot.

Members’ Debate Cap

When asked why the cap was removed, Hoover said his committee stumbled upon a question he struggled to answer.

“Someone who builds a 1,500 square foot house is going to ask, ‘Why does someone who builds a 5,000 square foot house get tax relief when I don’t have one'” Hoover said. “It’s a difficult question to answer.”

While some commissioners were prepared to say the cap could not qualify as tax relief, others, like commissioner Dennis Wade, disagreed.

“If a person builds a 5,000 square foot house and they can’t afford another, what, $ 3,000, then I think they don’t need to build a 5,000 square foot house. . It’s my way of seeing things, ”he said. “I’m for the bigger houses, and I think they’ll be built anyway. “

The Tennessee state legislature authorized county governments to levy preferential taxes on new development for school purposes in March 1996. In October of that year, Robertson County authorized a privileged tax of 75 cents. per square foot on new residential developments and a 30-cent preferred tax per square foot on non-residential development, according to the resolution passed by the commissioners at their December meeting.

Over the years, the tax for new residential projects in Robertson County has increased, peaking at $ 2 per square foot in 2006, while the non-residential tax has remained unchanged.

The vote to increase the privilege fee was carried by 17 votes to five with two commissioners, Mike Ellis and Tommy Jackson, absent from the debates.

Commissioners Bill Moore, Stacey Moore, Stephanie Bradley, Bubba Dorris and Ervin Brown voted no.

Contact Nicole Young at 615-306-3570 or [email protected]