The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Special Assessments

Reference Number: MTAS-1863
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: September 14, 2016
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Revenue Class: Local Taxes

Fund: General

Account No.: 31930

Description: Municipalities have the power to design and execute construction and improvement or reconstruction and re-improvement of any street, avenue, alley, highway or public place including improvements or alterations for flood control, water management, soil erosion, and disaster relief and assess not less than two-thirds of the cost or expense of the work against the property abutting or adjacent to the street, avenue, alley, or any other public place that is improved. If 75 percent of the property owners whose lots about the proposed improvement petition for the work to be done, 100 percent of the cost of the project can be assessed to the property owners. T.C.A. § 7-32-118.

Authorization: T.C.A. § 7-32-101 et seq.

Requirements or Restrictions: The municipality needs to adopt an ordinance and hold a public hearing prior to making the improvements. The ordinance should describe in detail the nature of the intended work. After apportionments are made, the municipality must hold another hearing on objections to the assessments. T.C.A. § 7-32-121. Appeals to the assessment may be made to the circuit court. T.C.A. § 7-32-126. If any objections to an assessment to pay costs are made, the confirmation of the assessment shall require the unanimous approval of the members of the governing body present at the meeting at which the objection is considered. T.C.A. § 7-32-123.

Current Rate: Depends upon the cost of the project and the number and sizes of properties involved.

Frequency of Payment: Payments are due 30 days after the assessment is made final. At the request of the property owner, the assessment may be paid in five annual installments, and shall bear interest at the rate of 6 percent per annum, interest payable semiannually. T.C.A. § 7-32-133. An assessment levied in connection with a public facility may be paid back over thirty years. T.C.A. § 7-32-133.

Late Pay Penalty: If any property owner makes default in the payment schedule, all of the installments with interest and an additional sum equal to one-half the annual interest, shall become immediately due and payable T.C.A. § 7-32-137. After 60 days delinquency, the city recorder turns the collection over to the city attorney who may then attach a lien on the property. T.C.A. § 7-32-138.

Exemptions: The total assessment made against any lot or parcel of land shall not exceed one-half of the cash value (fair sale price of the lot and improvements on the lot if sold at a voluntary sale) of the lot and improvements. T.C.A. § 7-32-116.

Collection: Collected by the municipal tax collector following the assessment. The assessment is a lien on the property. T.C.A. § 7-32-131.

Use Restrictions: N/A

Responsible: