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Legal But Tricky Way To Raise Shelby Property Taxes

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(Memphis) You’re taxes are likely to go up in Shelby County and commissioners say it’s because of the school merger.

Some commissioners want to raise property taxes 10% but their attorney says they will have to have a super majority to do that.

That means nine of the twelve commissioners would have to vote in favor of a 10% hike, but some are considering a way around that.

If they raise 9.99% above current rates they only need seven votes to approve the hike.

Commissioner says they must do something to afford next year’s budget.

“This isn't going to make anyone happy, but we have had to absorb the school system,” said Commissioner Heidi Schafer.

Schafer says the commission has to add around a hundred million dollars in new expenses to the budget this year.

Those increases come from an overhaul of the juvenile justice department they’re forced to fund by the federal government and the consolidation of Memphis city schools into their Shelby County system.

And all this is a guess because the new unified system hasn’t even come out with a budget yet.

In addition to the new and higher bills coming into the county commission they’re also expected to pay for the budget with less money.

The property evaluations are coming out within the next couple of months, and the values are expected to drop in Shelby County.

Commissioner Mike Ritz says they may have no choice but to raise property taxes especially since their sales tax increase was shot down by voters in November.

Despite some politicians claims Ritz says he never thought the school merger would be more financially efficient.

“We would have some pretty good problems with the budget this year because of the decreasing property values and increases in expenditures, but nothing like we are going to have because of the schools,” said Ritz.

Ritz says a 10% or 9.99% increase would bring in around sixty million dollars.

Even if the get the property tax hike Ritz says that will only cover the shortfall from property value losses, and they will still have to come up with a way to pay for the schools.