Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Council approves tax break for flood victims

Councilman says measure is for 'the very hardest hit'

By Michael Cass • THE TENNESSEAN • July 21, 2010

 Davidson County property owners whose homes were severely damaged by the May flood will get a tax break under a plan the Metro Council approved Tuesday.

The council unanimously enacted its version of legislation passed by the General Assembly in May. The new law allows flood victims to apply for a prorated reduction in the assessment of each property that was damaged at least 50 percent and was not replaced or restored for at least 30 days. The application deadline is Sept. 1.

Councilman Ronnie Steine, chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, said the measure was designed "for those folks who were the very hardest hit."

"This is one of the things we can point to that will give folks some help," Steine said.
Councilman Phil Claiborne, whose Donelson district was hit hard, said he already had heard from a couple of residents inquiring about the option.

"I don't know why anybody wouldn't apply," he said.

The Davidson County property assessor's office has estimated the measure will cost Metro about $20 million in tax revenues. The city brings in about $650 million a year.

The council also gave preliminary approval to a plan that would waive flood victims' permit fees for home repair or rebuilding projects through Dec. 31. The council previously waived the fees through July 30. It probably will take a final vote on the extension in two weeks.

Lease change approved

In other business, the council voted unanimously to amend the city's Bridgestone Arena lease with the Nashville Predators. The lease now says the National Hockey League team must pay Metro 5 percent of the price of each ticket or $1.75 per ticket sold — whichever is lower.

The 5 percent provision, which was in the Predators' previous lease, was not included in the current agreement after lawyers for the city and the team failed to notice the omission in some 20 drafts they passed back and forth in 2007-08.

An attorney hired by Metro acknowledged the mistake last year after The Tennessean asked about apparent shortfalls in the funds the Predators were sending the city, based on the language in the contract at the time.

Contact Michael Cass at 615-259-8838 or

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