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Thursday, June 01, 2017

Kingsport sets one of the lowest tax rates in city history

Kingsport, TN - With reappraisals recently completed in Sullivan County, taxpayers in Kingsport are reaping the benefits of higher property values that enable the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to set the fourth lowest tax rate in city history.  The new rate is $1.9750 per $100 of assessed value, while the previous rate was $2.07. 

The tax rate had been as high as $2.39 in 2000. 

Tennessee assesses residential property at 25 percent of market value and 40 percent for commercial/industrial. In many states, it is not uncommon to see property taxes applied to 100 percent of assessed value.

“Tennessee has a rollback provision that is very favorable to residential property owners,” said City Manager Jeff Fleming. “This, coupled with the fact that taxes are only assessed on ¼ of the property value, makes Tennessee an extraordinarily affordable place to live.”

In cities that are located in two or more counties, the tax rate is also equalized between counties. “For the first time in recent memory, the Kingsport city tax rate in both Hawkins and Sullivan Counties is the same.” 

While the rate is one of the lowest in city history, the combination of rate and individual property value determines the actual out-of-pocket cost to a homeowner. 

“If your property is above the citywide median value, your out-of-pocket might be slightly higher. If it is below median, you may actually pay less out-of-pocket than you did four years ago. The basic rule is that the city receives the same aggregate amount, but the burden is shifted,” Fleming explained. “It’s Tennessee’s built-in tax relief for those who need it most.”

Under the new tax rate, annual city taxes on a $50,000 home would be $247, a $175,000 home would pay $740, a $300,000 home would pay $1,481, and a $500,000 home would pay $2,469.

Annual taxes on a $500,000 business would be $3,950, a $1,000,000 business would pay $7,900 and a $5,000,000 business would pay $39,500 and a $15,000,000 business would pay $118,500.
“A growing tax base is the sign of a fundamentally-sound, healthy community,” Fleming added. “Kingsport continues to be the lowest cost among the Tri-Cities in terms of taxes and fees. We provide the highest quality services with the greatest value proposition to our customers.”

In 2016, the city’s ten largest property taxpayers accounted for 33% of all taxable assessed value – that’s down from 37.5% in 2005. A more diversified tax base is one factor that helped improve the city’s financial ratings from “good” to “strong.”

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About the City of Kingsport
Founded in 1917, the City of Kingsport (pop. 53,000) is located on the Tennessee-Virginia border at the crossroads of I-81 and I-26 near the geographic center of the eastern U.S.  The city is widely known as a planned community, designed by renowned city planner John Nolen and wrapping around the foot of Bays Mountain – a 3,500 acre park, nature preserve, planetarium and observatory.  Kingsport is recognized as an International Safe Community by the National Safety Council, a Healthier Tennessee community, and won the 2009 Harvard Innovations in American Government Award for its higher education initiatives.  While many city names are duplicated throughout the U.S., there’s only one Kingsport – a fact that invokes community pride, known locally as the “Kingsport Spirit.”

Kingsport is located on the Tennessee-Virginia border at the crossroads of I-81 and I-26 near the geographic center of the Eastern U.S. This city of 50,000 in a metro of 308,000, was planned by renowned American planner John Nolen in his office at Harvard Square. Located in the lush green foothills of the Tennessee Valley, it is surrounded by the Southern Highlands and mountain lakes. Kingsport is home to Marriott’s and thousands of acres of unique, natural amenities at Bays Mountain and Warriors Path Parks. The natural geography provides a temperate, well-balanced climate with four seasons and a natural shelter from extreme weather. Population growth has also been well-balanced, ensuring you will not outgrow your decision to relocate. With no personal property taxes, special assessments, or state income taxes on salaries/wages, you’ll find that Kingsport has a very low cost of living coupled with an exceptionally high quality of life (see for yourself at The regional airport (TRI) has direct flights to Atlanta, Charlotte, Orlando and St. Pete/Clearwater with easy access, parking, and virtually no security lines. The public education system was planned by Columbia University and Newsweek has repeatedly recognized the local high school as one of the best in America. Year in and year out our graduates go on to the top colleges and universities (and without costly private school tuition fees). Harvard also recognized Kingsport in 2009 with the Innovations in American Government Award for its higher education initiative. What are you waiting for? It’s time to leave the high costs, traffic jams, and stress behind and discover this hidden gem.