Property

Knox County homeowner shocked by tax increase after property assessment

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — When Knox County’s revised property assessments arrived a few weeks ago, many property owners were shocked by the increase. In East Knox County, one man’s tax burden will double and nearly triple on some of his properties. He is not happy.

Raymond Rutherford owns nine pieces of property in East Knox County. Retired and disabled, he says the modest rent he charges on the mobile homes and framed homes are used as his retirement income.

One of the parcels he owns contains two older homes, dating to the 1980s. Only one of the two homes has been remodeled. The assessment of the property nearly quadrupled from $47,600 to $180,000 when new notices were sent out.

“Professional people could not have walked out here and looked at those properties that we’re talking about and said they’re worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s not possible!” said Rutherford.

Assessments doubled on some of his properties while others tripled. Rutherford could raise rents to ease his tax burden. But that’s a step Rutherford is not willing to take.

“These people are on fixed incomes already struggling. They could in no way afford a rent jack,” said Rutherford.

Rutherford gives the example of a modest home he owns in Strawberry Plains that he says is rented out to two older disabled people. There’s an option-to-buy agreement to sell it to them for $33,000.

“They’ve been in there about five years now. This house has gone from ridiculous to worth $113,000. The house pushing it would be worth about $55,000,” said Rutherford.

Rutherford says he’s not in the business to get rich, but with an extra tax burden, he’s worried.

“For sure, I can’t retire this way. I’ve got to find some way to keep these people their home and live myself. These people we are talking about, not just numbers. We’re talking about people who are on fixed incomes now not since this came about. I’m going to tell you the truth. We all make mistakes. We all need our local government. But something is wrong here that needs to be looked into,” said Rutherford.

“I’m going to appeal and hope some answers come there. I just want to be done right by the people that are supposed to represent me,” said Rutherford.

After scheduling his appointment a few weeks ago, Rutherford will appear Tuesday in what is called an informal hearing at the county assessor’s office. There he will sit down with an appraiser and present his argument.

Because Rutherford’s case is relatively complicated, Knox County Property Assessor John Whitehead said there may not be an immediate decision and further review may be necessary. In other words, a closer look at the property in dispute.

If you plan to appeal your valuation, the Knox County property assessor’s website outlines the process, giving you instructions on the steps to follow. April 30 is the final day for informal appeal hearings.

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