Fayetteville Aldermen Pass 21% Property Tax Hike

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FAYETTEVILLE, TN (WHNT) - A controversial property tax hike is now on the books in Fayetteville, Tennessee.

The Fayetteville Board of Aldermen voted 4-2 Tuesday night to raise the city's property tax rate by 21 percent.

Proponents said they decided to vote for the 35 cent tax increase after city residents rejected a sales tax referendum by a 2-1 margin last fall. Aldermen said they will use the extra revenue for road repairs, along with a number of capital projects that include a new city pool.

The tax hike got the green light from aldermen despite the pleas and outrage of property owners in attendance, who argued that the increase would put an unfair burden on Fayetteville's large elderly population.

"I felt you had our best interests at heart, and now I know you don't," said one woman who took the podium, one of many residents who used their time to blast the proposal.

"You go ahead, y'all can vote on raising taxes," said Fayetteville resident Mary Tackett. "When y'all come up for reelection, we can vote on y'all."

Alderwoman Dorothy Small and Alderwoman Gwen Shelton were the two dissenting votes on the tax hike, which was publicly defended by Fayetteville Mayor John Underwood. Mayor Underwood told audience members the city had already made enough budget cuts, and said there was no viable alternative for revenue.

"We should've passed the sales tax," said Underwood. "But we sat there and let a bunch of dummies sit around and promote no sales tax, 'please don't vote for a sales tax.' Well, look what you got. You got a 35 cent [raise] on your property tax."

The last time Faytteville's Board of Aldermen passed a property tax increase was 2003. City leaders said city employees will not receive raises this fiscal year in light of the higher tax.