Rain Tax 3

Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens

Today, 6/5/17, Lenoir City council is set to take the second of three votes to pass the rain tax. The meeting is at 1:00. If the first vote, which passed unanimously, is any indication, city residents, property owners and businesses are in for one of the biggest one time tax increases the city folks have ever seen. Bigger than any tax increase passed in the Matt Brookshire or Charles Eblen administrations.

Quick review. The council is proposing a tax on every resident, business and property owner within the city limits for the rain that falls on their property. Every resident will have to pay $3.00 per month. All other properties will pay the tax based on the square feet of impervious surfaces on their property. This includes roofs. parking lots, gravel areas or any compacted surfaces on their property. The logic is that these taxes will pay to manage and maintain storm drains and gutters. The city expects to collect over $530,000.00 in the first year. The rain tax can be raised at any time with no limits as council decides.  

City dwellers may have only one hope to avoid this massive, ridiculous tax, Mayor Tony Aikens. For years Aikens, first as a councilman then as mayor, has repeatedly voiced opposition to higher taxes on city residents. In his election campaigns he has made the statement that he has never voted for or supported a tax increase. As mayor, Aikens has no vote except in the case of a tie vote of council, but surely he has some influence on the direction the council goes.

What about all the area of the city that has no stormwater controls? Browder Hollow, West Hills, Silver Ridge, Chestnut Ridge, Pine Top, none of these areas have any storm drains, gutters or anything. Do they still have to pay the rain tax? What about the developments that spent thousands of dollars to build retention/detention ponds to prevent run off? Do they have to pay the rain tax too. The answer is yes. 

It appears the city council has taken a bit of a dark turn. Just back in January, they voted unanimously to support Governor Bill Haslam and his family's massive gas tax hike and now they want to pass this rain tax? There's a scary trend developing.

If city officials are on a path to tax their folks to death, there is another option. Move to the county. No rain taxes, 75% lower property taxes and lots of space. Just a thought.

Passage of the rain tax takes three votes to become law. The first vote passed unanimously on May 8th. The second vote is today. The third and final vote will be June 26th. If all three votes pass, beginning July 1, everyone in the city will see their rain tax on their monthly utility bill.

Let me make this as clear as possible again, this "rain tax" or stormwater fee as city officials like to call it, is NOT mandated by the federal government or congress, it is NOT mandated by the state of Tennessee. If the council passes the rain tax it will be mandated solely by the Lenoir City Council.

Below are just a few more estimates on what the rain tax will cost some in the city if it passes.

Wilburn Hardware-$100 per month
Matlock Tire-$200 per month
Ed Loy, Landmark Storage-$300 per month
The News Herald-$50 per month
Loudon County Rental-$300 per month
Calvary Baptist-$50 per month
Tractor Supply Shopping Center-$600 per month
Fellowship Baptist-$200 per month

These are just estimates based on the sq. ft. of impervious surface on these properties.