Jun 01, 2024 at 12:22 pm by WGNS

Murfreesboro, TN – Rutherford County Property Assessor Rob Mitchell feels this community urgently needs a two-year revaluation. He is making the request to the Rutherford County Commission's STEERING COMMITTEE this coming Monday night (6/3/2024).

Mitchell noted, “Simply put, new growth fills the holes created by the appraisal ratio in the tax levy. As you can see, our rate of growth has slowed from previous decades."


He commented that Rutherford County has a proven record of efficiency as illustrated with comparisons to counties who do not share our rapid growth rate.

  • Knox County Assessor's Office: 44 employees and a budget of $4,507,386.
  • Hamilton County Assessor's Office:39 employees and a budget of $4,151,658.
  • Rutherford County Assessor's Office: 33 employees and a budget of $3,609,607.

To get a better feel for Mitchell’s proposal, WGNS News asked him several questions…

Does the Rutherford County Property Assessor’s Office need more employees?

Mitchell:  In my budget presentation I recommended the funding of every position in my office (filled or unfilled) at current rates plus 5%. I also requested funding for two additional staff.

Some local home owners are facing financial challenges due to the “through the roof” value placed on their property during the re-appraisal. Actual values are noq starting to drop. Some residents must choose between paying taxes or getting medicine or food.  What are your thoughts on this? 

Mitchell:  I have proposed the Golden Homeowners Tax Relief Plan to help those who have built our community. It is an expansion of a current program the state provides. If acted upon and implemented it would require the state of Tennessee to provide vouchers for golden homeowners which would pay their local property taxes. Tennessee has sufficient funds to do this.

Are the rules that govern the Property Assessors Office created/controlled by the "STATE LEGISLATURE" or the "COUNTY COMMISSION"? 

Mitchell:  The rules regarding the funding of positions within the assessor's office are set by the Tennessee Constitution and not the County Commission. Their authority is only financial in nature, they provide the budget dollars we require to do our constitutional duty and to serve the citizens "without fear or favor".

YOU have been in the Rutherford County office every working day for the past 12 years, and have witnessed areas that need improving and some that should be left alone.  With that background, "if you had a real magic wand", what changes would you recommend? 

Mitchell:  First, I would provide adequate and necessary financial support to the assessor's office and to every other constitutional office. These individuals were elected and chosen by the citizens to conduct the public's business within the confines of their respective offices. Misplaced micromanagement has no place in a transparent a government. 

Second, I will seek to consolidate duplicative functions If an office has the constitutional authority to perform a task and a department has a statutorily permissive authority to do the same task, the constitution supersedes statute.

Is your opinion different now on "what a PROPERTY ASSESSORS OFFICE" should do--after serving 12-years?

Mitchell:  My goals are the same as they were in the past. People are frustrated. They want to find the information they need. They want clear and honest explanations of processes. They want someone who will tell them the truth and not a version of the truth which may cater to a popular bias. Unlike other agencies, I return funds if they are unused. It is not "over budgeting". It's more like making sure you have enough money in your pocket when you take a trip. WHat you don't spend after the vacation, you put back into your account. You don't try to spend every last penny before you get home and then ask someone to give you more.

We developed "Smart Rutherford", used grants to purchase vehicles, created the first apprenticeship program in the nation for mass appraisal. We have innovated in order to become more efficient and thorough so the taxpayers' burden can be minimized. It isn't exciting or glamorous, but in a real sense it is the most financially important position in county government. The Comptroller says it is and he also says it’s the most difficult to do well.

Sections: News Smyrna News