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March Tornado Affecting Property Taxes

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

Putnam County will lose almost $250,000 in property tax revenue due to damages from the March tornado.

That’s according to Putnam County Property Assessor Steve Pierce. He said property taxes are prorated to the day of the storm.

“If it was 100-percent destroyed, it will be taken off the tax rolls starting that date,” Pierce said. “Say you had a residential house and lot, you would have the house and lot on from January 1 until March 3 of the storm. From that point on, you would only have the lot.”

Pierce said repaired or rebuilt homes would eventually be reassessed. However, according to state law, if homes are rebuilt before September 1, by state law, owners are not supposed to receive any compensation on their taxes.

“If they build back before September 1, and that’s the date in the T.C.A.,” Pierce said, “if they build back or repair, there’s really not supposed to be any compensation as far as a loss of appraisal number or a decrease in appraisal number at that point. We’ve talked about that a lot with some of the state legislators. It’s kind of a all-or-nothing kind of law, and it may need to be revisited or looked at, and maybe it’s something we can do in the future.”

The EF-4 tornado that struck Putnam County March 3 killed 19 people and did over $100 million in damages. Pierce said appraisers were out at the beginning of the cleanup to begin assessing the damages.

“EMA was doing the FEMA assessment, so we went out and helped them do those FEMA assessments,” Pierce said. “Then we came back in and kind of organized ourselves for about a week before we did what we had to do. We had about what we thought 12,000 to 14,000 structures in the area that could have been affected.”

Pierce said the breakdown of lost revenue includes both buildings and person property.

“In the county, with what we’d call real property, which would be houses, land, and things like that,” Pierce said, “you had a tax revenue difference or loss of about $221,700. Then the city had their loss in residential was about $19,700. And you have personal property on top of that, which it didn’t add up to be a lot. It’s a pretty small number. That would be businesses that lost equipment.”



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