Bill Gatton, Rutherford County property assessor wrangle over taxes
A bill working its way through the Tennessee General Assembly could change how local governments assess property taxes. It was created after a conversation between Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) and Bristol-based Auto Dealer Bill Gatton.
Gatton purchased 318 acres of farmland outside Nashville in 2004 for $16.2 million. He sold 99.4 acres in 2006 for $24.5 million, according to Rutherford County Property Assessor Bill Boner.
Currently, 187 acres remain. They're the focus of an ongoing dispute.
That acreage was assessed a value of $1.3 million in 2006. Three years later, Boner (he was elected in 2008) assessed the value at $30 million.
Senate Bill 1316 would limit the increase in value on vacant land like Gatton's to, "The value of the real property in the tax year of the immediately preceding reappraisal plus 25-percent of that value."
The Gatton family donated $5,000 in 2009 to Ramsey's campaign for governor. Ramsey said that fact is irrelevant. He said Gatton's development, The Avenue, added millions to the Rutherford County tax rolls -- and Gatton is being punished for it.
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