(MURFREESBORO) Rutherford County Property Assessor Rob Mitchell is advocating for a taxpayer transparency tool for the citizens of Rutherford County. This intuitive website will provide each Rutherford County taxpayer an individualized accounting of where their property tax dollars go, the estimated impact of any proposed property tax measures to be voted on, detailed property information, and a multitude of other tools focused on empowering our citizens.
King County (Seattle, Washington) has provided this tool for the last year and has received rave reviews. "Taxpayers have a right to know where their money is going, and what each proposed property tax levy will cost them," Mitchell said. "Property taxes keep going up. We need to make sure the public understands why. The new transparency tool will make it easier than ever for the residents of Rutherford County to know how their property taxes are being invested and supporting local infrastructure and services."
Mitchell said there were several factors that led him to seek out new solutions for Rutherford County:
- The property tax system is the foundation for all county services. This new tool allows voters and local representatives to make informed decisions about expenditures, and helps illustrate how their decisions impact the community.
- News stories and other information about property taxes typically use a "median-value"or "average property" as the example for the cost of the proposal. "The problem is not allpeople own a "median-value" property, so those estimates just don't seem as relevant," Mitchell said. "This tool shows the impact on a taxpayer's specific property. It's the transparency in government citizens crave and deserve."
- The Assessor's Office receives numerous inquiries via phone and email regarding tax bills, assessment change notices, andzoning and new development proposals by residents wanting to know how much these measures will cost them. This tool will be an efficient and effective way to answer these questions. Residents can find the answer on-line whenever it is convenient for them - not just during normal business hours.
Rutherford County taxpayers have seen significant increases in their taxes this year. Growth and the demand for new schools, infrastructure, and solid waste solutions will continue to be issues our community will be forced to address.
"We are working in the legislature to relieve some of the property tax burden on homeowners, especially those on fixed incomes,. In the meantime, the least we can do is give taxpayers more information about the property taxes we all pay either directly through property ownership or indirectly through rent." said Mitchell.
The Tax Transparency Tool was developed by Spatialest Inc, a unique enterprise software company focusing on location, value, and technology. Mitchell is requesting funding from the county commission in November. "It will take Rutherford County to anther level entirely in the realm of transparency and efficient use of resources. It's what the citizens demand and deserve. It contributes to our mission for the office to seek out the most cost effective use of resources. Pursuit of this goal culminated in our office winning the 2018 Excellence in Operations Award."