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Its Time to Pay Your 2020 County Property Taxes

September 29, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

2020 property tax notices will be going out in the mail Wednesday, September 30 in the Navy blue color in honor of the men and women who wear the blue to protect, serve and preserve our freedoms.

Taxes will be due and payable starting October 1, 2020 through February 28, 2021 before any interest becomes due on March 1, 2021. The Trustee’s Office will not be open February 27 or 28.
For 2020, the DeKalb County property tax rate is $2.1235 per $100 of assessed value. The tax notices include an example provided by Trustee Driver on how the property taxes are calculated.

“Well, it’s that time again for property owners of DeKalb County. Sean Driver here, your DeKalb County Trustee giving another report on yearly changes concerning property taxes. The 2020 property tax notices will be mailed out Wednesday for annual collection. It goes without saying, we all know 2020 has been a year to remember for all the history books. We must be strong and be united for generations to come. With that thought in mind, the Trustee’s office has chosen a “Navy Blue” color for the 2020 property tax notices. We want to honor the men and women who proudly wear the blue uniforms day in and day out to serve, to protect, and to provide that blanket of freedom for everyone. God Bless the USA,” said Driver.

For 2020, the tax rate has remained the same at 2.1235% per $100.00 of your assessed value.
Example: Appraisal Value————$125,000 X Assessed Value @25%—-$31,250 X Residential Tax Rate @ 2.1235%——$664 Tax Amount to Pay.

The Trustee’s office offers up to 6 different options to pay your property taxes:

*Come in person to the office to pay

*Mail in your payment

*Pay online @, then select DeKalb and follow the instructions to the next screens. The Vendor BIS (Business Information Systems) accepts Discover, MasterCard, or American Express-The Vendor convenience fee of 2.75% on the total tax bill will apply and fees are subject to change for using credit/debit cards. Also, a $2.75 fee will be assessed on an e-check payment of any amount.

* A QR (Quick Response Code) is also your means of accessing the website with your smart phone.

* Dropbox located on the outside of the building at the County Complex (County Offices Section) for your convenience after hours or on weekends.

*Partial Payments are accepted and you the taxpayer sets the amount to pay until full payment is made.

The Trustee’s office will start accepting applications for the Property Tax Relief Program on October 1, 2020 through April 5, 2021. If you would like to inquire more about a possible tax relief for property taxes, come by the Trustee’s office in the County Complex at 732 S Congress Boulevard-Room 103, Smithville or call 615-597-5176.

Eligibility for Property Tax Relief:

*The State of Tennessee offers qualified property owners tax relief on property taxes. This program was implemented in 1973 and has a few changes every year. At this time, DeKalb County has 430 applicants on the program for 2019. As a property owner for 2020, you can qualify for Tax Relief if: ( A.) Your DeKalb County home is your primary residence, ( B.) You are 65 years old (or older) on or before December 31, 2020, (C.) Under 65 years of age with a total and permanent disability per the SSA or another qualifying agency, and (D.) The 2019 Annual Income of all living owners on the deed and their spouses DID NOT exceed $30,700. If the State of Tennessee qualifies you for Tax Relief, then you can receive a rebate up to $126 for 2020. You must pay your 2020 tax bill IN FULL to start the application.

* Also, the State of Tennessee offers TAX RELIEF to Disabled Veterans and the surviving spouses of a disabled veteran. You must provide proof from the Veteran’s Administration that you have a total and permanent disability rating that was service connected. You and your spouse will NOT have to report any income to apply as a disabled veteran or the widow or widower of a disabled veteran. If the State of Tennessee qualifies you as a disabled veteran or the surviving spouse of a disabled veteran, then you can receive a rebate up to $759.

Administrator of Elections Takes Questions From County Commission About Upcoming Election (View Video Here)

September 29, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

DeKalb County voters will again see some COVID-19 related changes during early voting and on election day.

(The video below shows county commission discussion and action on reappointing two judicial commissioners and taking applications for the third position as recommended by the judicial committee, removing 0.72 miles of Old Casey Cove Road from the County Road List, acknowledgement of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department employee Handbook and Policy and Procedures, approval of Jail Disciplinary Board Members, and near the end of the video Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley’s remarks)

Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley addresses County Commission from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley addressed the county commission Monday night at the request of seventh district commissioner Beth Pafford to discuss some of the policies and procedures for the November 3 Presidential Election.

Stanley said the election commission, as it did in August, is working to ensure the safety of election workers and voters due to the pandemic.

“COVID-19 is still an issue and those of you who voted in August saw the process the election workers went through and how that the election commission had taken steps to protect them. We will go through those same steps come November. There were sneeze guards for those who worked sitting down. The election workers were told to wear either a mask or face shield while voters were present. The election commission asked that some of the local financial institutions provide us with pens that the voters could keep to sign in and even use as a stylus on the voting machines so our election workers would not have to touch those pens. We took quite a few steps and the election commission did a remarkable job in doing what we could to make sure our election workers were safe,” said Stanley.

“During August we voted two COVID related voters. One had tested positive for COVID. The other person’s wife had tested positive for COVID and he was in quarantine. We fortunately knew a day or two before what the case was and we simply asked that those voters use their cell phones to call us when they arrived at the courthouse. In fact we had all COVID related cases vote at the courthouse and not at their precinct. When they called and told us they were outside we had someone from our staff put on the full PPE and they went outside and voted them from their car so they did not have to get out and expose anyone else. They were allowed to vote and their votes did count”.

Stanley stressed the importance of early voting especially with the turnout expected for this election.

“To me it is very important that you consider early voting. The early voting hours are so convenient. There are about 14 days of early voting and it blows my mind that more people don’t take advantage of that. Knowing that we would have an increased volume of voters in November, the election commission voted to extend hours for a couple of days of early voting which starts October 14 through October 29,” he said.

Early Voting hours at the courthouse are as follows:
*Mondays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

*Tuesdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

*Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

*Thursdays 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. (except the last Thursday, Oct. 29 when the hours will be 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.)

*Fridays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (except the last Friday, October 23 when the hours will be 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

*Saturdays 9 a.m. to Noon.

Stanley then took questions from the commissioners.

“If you are doing a mail-in absentee ballot does it have to go through the post office or can voters bring it to you” asked Pafford.

“Under Tennessee law, the actual ballot has to be mailed back to our office. That is by either the US Postal Service or it can be by FedEx,” said Stanley.

“Do mail in ballots have to be received by election day or can they be postmarked” Pafford asked.
“Ballots have to be received by the close of the polls on election day,” Stanley responded.

Pafford asked “Is there a way to confirm that the mail-in ballot has been received?”

“To confirm that the mail-in ballot has been received, call our office and we can look it up or with the GoVoteTN app that information will be on there. Once we receive a ballot and mark it as voted in our system that information is transferred to the state and the state transfers that to the GoVoteTN app so you can look it up,” Stanley said.

“When do start counting mail-in ballots,” asked Pafford

“Mail-in ballots are counted on election day,” replied Stanley.

“Can you give us a feel for what the difference is in the number of mail-in ballots you expect to have this year compared to the last Presidential election,” Pafford asked.

“We are already above the last Presidential election on requests for mail-in ballots. In August we mailed out 274 absentee applications but only 245 were returned and counted. We have already mailed out 252 and we have almost a month to go,” said Stanley.

“When are early votes counted,” asked Pafford.

“Early votes are counted on election night,” Stanley replied

“Will you be able to go to NHC Healthcare Center and the Webb House Retirement Center to vote those people,” asked seventh district commissioner Bruce Malone

“I have not talked to them about the November election yet but I can tell you what we did in August. NHC was actually shut down to any public access. We used two of their employees who are registered DeKalb County voters, which the law requires to become voting deputies for that location. They were trained and they voted the residents and returned the ballots back to us. At the Webb House, they let us set up on their covered porch and they would bring to us a voter or two at a time and we wore masks, etc,” said Stanley.

“Can you tell us what the requirements are for absentee voting,” asked Malone.

Stanley gave a brief answer but later provided WJLE with all the requirements for early voting as follows:

The last day to request an absentee ballot is October 27.

You can vote absentee by-mail if you fall under one of the following categories:

*You are sixty (60) years of age or older.

*You will be outside the county where you are registered during the early voting period and all day on Election Day.

*You are hospitalized, ill or physically disabled and unable to appear at your polling place to vote (this includes persons who have underlying medical or health conditions which in their determination render them more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 or at greater risk should they contract it). For a list of underlying health conditions that makes a person more susceptible, see A physician’s statement is not required to check this box.

*You are the caretaker of a person who is hospitalized, ill, or disabled (this includes voters who care for or reside with persons who have underlying medical or health conditions which in their determination render them more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 or at greater risk should they contract it). For a list of underlying health conditions that makes a person more susceptible, see A physician’s statement is not required to check this box.

*You or your spouse are a full-time student in an accredited college or university outside the county where you are registered.

*You reside in a nursing home, assisted living facility or home for the aged outside your county of residence.

*You are a candidate for office in the election.

*You are observing a religious holiday that prevents you from voting in person during the early voting period and on Election Day.

*You serve as an Election Day official or as a member or employee of the election commission.

*You will be unable to vote in-person due to jury duty.

*You have a physical disability and an inaccessible polling place.

*You or your spouse possess a valid commercial drivers license (CDL) or Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card and you will be working outside the state or county of registration during the open hours of early voting and Election Day and have no specific out-of-county or out-of-state address to which mail may be sent or received during such time.

*You are a member of the military or are an overseas citizen.

*You are on the permanent absentee list (see question 4 below).

How can I request an absentee by-mail ballot?

*You must submit a written request containing the information below to your local county election commission office by the seventh day before Election Day. You can use the absentee ballot request form to make sure all required information is provided.

*You can submit your written request for an absentee ballot by mail, fax, or e-mail. If e-mailing your request, be sure the attached document contains the information below and your scanned signature.

*Name of the registered voter

*Address of the voter’s residence

*Voter’s social security number

*Voter’s date of birth

*Address to mail the ballot

*The election in which the voter wishes to participate. If the election involves a primary, the political party in which the voter wishes to participate.

*Reason the voter wishes to vote absentee. If applicable, a copy of the CDL containing the CDL number or the TWIC card must be included in the voter’s request.

*Voter’s signature

*A request that contains this information will be processed and a ballot will be mailed to the voter.

NOTICE: A person who is not an employee of an election commission commits a Class E felony if such person gives an application for an absentee ballot to any person or commits a Class A misdemeanor if such person gives an unsolicited request for application for absentee ballot to any person. T.C.A. § 2-6-202(c)(3) and (4).

Mya Ruch Named 2019-20 DCHS Lady Tiger Basketball MVP

September 29, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

Members of the 2019-20 DeKalb County High School Lady Tigers Basketball Team , who were unable to have their awards banquet in the spring due to COVID-19, were recently recognized for their athletic accomplishments last season.

Mya Ruch received the Allen D. Hooper Most Valuable Player Award presented by Love-Cantrell Funeral Home. She also earned team awards for Best Passer, Best Defender, and Best Ball Handler. Ruch helped lead the Lady Tigers to an 18-15 record and a semi-finals finish in the Region Tournament.

Other Lady Tiger Award Winners:

Megan Cantrell- Best 6th Man
Kalee Ferrell- Best Rebounder, Best Offensive Player, and Hustle Award
Emme Colwell-Best Free Throw Shooter
Kenzie France-Best Attitude
Megan Walker-Toughest Player
Grace Griffin-Most Improved

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