February 25, 2024
By: Dwayne Page
DeKalb County property taxpayers have only a few more days to pay their 2023 county property taxes.
2023 Property taxes are due and payable through February 29, 2024 before any interest becomes due on March 1, 2024. Interest will accrue on March 1, 2024 @ 1.5% per month. If you choose to mail in your tax payment, it must be postmarked on or prior to February 29, 2024 to avoid any accrued interest.
As of Friday, February 23, Trustee Sean Driver said 75.25% had been collected of the $12.9 million in 2023 DeKalb County property taxes to be collected by February 29, 2024 which includes property, residential, commercial, personal, and public utility taxes.
Unpaid 2022 taxes may still be paid with interest and penalty through March 31, 2024 but after that date the Trustee will file for collection with the Clerk and Master’s Office of the Chancery Court.
The Trustee’s office offers up to 6 different options to pay your 2023 property taxes:
1. Come in person to the office to pay
2. Mail in your payment
3. Pay online @ www.tennesseetrustee.org, then select DeKalb and follow the instructions to the next screens – The Vendor BIS/I3 Verticals accepts Discover, MasterCard, Visa, or American Express – The Vendor convenience fee of 2.75% on the total tax bill will apply and fees are subject to change using Credit/Debit Cards. Also, a $2.75 fee will be assessed on an E-CHECK payment of any amount. DeKalb County does not collect any online payment fees.
4. A QR (Quick Response Code) is also on your notice to access the website with your I-phone, smartphone, etc. @ www.tennesseetrustee.org
5 A Dropbox is located on the outside of the building at the County Complex (County Offices Section) for your convenience after hours and/or weekends.
6. Partial Payments are accepted, and you the taxpayer sets the amount to pay until full payment is satisfied.
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 the program has a few changes every year. At this time, DeKalb County has 403 applicants on the program for 2023. So, as a property owner for 2023, 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, 2023, or
(C) You are under 65 years of age with a totally and permanently disability per SSA or another qualifying agency, and last
(D) Your 2022 Annual Income of all living owners on the deed and their spouses that DID NOT exceed $33,460.00.
If the State of Tennessee qualifies you for Tax Relief, then you can receive a rebate up to $104.00 for the 2023 tax year. You must pay your 2023 tax bill in full to start the application process. Applications are handled, executed, and sent to the State of Tennessee by the Trustee’s office.
The State of Tennessee also 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 do NOT have to report any amount of income to apply as a disabled veteran or the widow/er 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 $589.00 for 2023.
Meanwhile, DeKalb County has implemented a “Tax Freeze” program authorized by the state and Trustee Driver explains the qualifications for that.
NEW 2023 PROGRAM: ‘TAX FREEZE’
• Established through voters in the State of Tennessee through a referendum passage in 2007
•The Program is only for ELDERLY – 65 years or older
•Income Limit (2022 Annual Income) is $33,460.00. All owners on the property
•Can only have Tax Freeze on your primary/principal residence
•The TAX AMOUNT is Frozen. The property value, assessment, and tax rate are Not Frozen.
•You can apply or have both Tax Relief and Tax Freeze.
•Applications are administered and executed by the Trustee’s office.
•There are acreage limits that can be frozen.
The Trustee’s office will accept applications for the Tax Relief & Tax Freeze Programs through April 5, 2024. If you would like to inquire more about a possible Tax Relief for property taxes or about the New Tax Freeze Program, come by the County Complex in the Trustee’s office @ 732 S. Congress Blvd – Room 103, Smithville, TN 37166 or call @ 615-597-5176.
D.C.H.S. Students Perform in Honors Band
February 25, 2024
By: Bill Conger
Six students in the D.C.H.S. Band made the final cut for the 61st annual Festival of Winds and Percussion at Tennessee Tech. Selected to perform in the first of two bands at the February 9-10 event were Ayden Jones, trumpet, Alexis Stanley, trumpet, Daniel Stiffler, clarinet, Marvin “B.J.” Mosley, tenor saxophone, Serenity Patterson and Karson Smallwood, percussion.
Students from Tennessee high school bands are selected after trying out over audio or video auditions. In early December students sent in their recorded try-out material that included performing major scales and two sight reading pieces (music they have never seen/played previously).
“They get the results when they arrive early morning February 9th,” Band Director Don Whitt explained. “They have been evaluated by a judge who is a professor in the music department at TTU. They are placed in either of two bands.”
Whitt says students learn their music during ten hours of practice over the two days.
“Also, there are wonderful times during the weekend where the students get to hear a concert by a professional band, several wind ensembles featuring professors on campus, and the TTU Jazz ensemble,” Whitt said. “If the students would like to go to University and major in music, this is one way to be recognized. You, as a student, get to meet faculty, experience what it is like on a college campus with other students your age that you may have the opportunity to one day perform with in band.”
Whitt said the special event also gave him and other music educators a chance to relive old times.
“I was able to see other educators when I was at the University of North Alabama that I had played with 36 years ago in honor band. We were just saying that if we did this over again, we would jump in and play with them…just to relive that experience. It is indeed fun to learn new pieces of music with great and talented people from just this state.”
Residents concerned about rumors of possible jail/judicial center plans for their neighborhood (View Video Here)
February 24, 2024
By: Dwayne Page
If and when the time comes, where will the county build a jail/justice center?
Rumors that the county might be looking at property in the area of the hospital and golf course on Riley Avenue have neighbors there worried and they showed up Thursday night at the county commission’s committee of the whole meeting to express their concerns.
While it is true that at recent jail committee meetings, property on Riley Avenue owned by the hospital has been mentioned as a potential location, so have many other sites but the county has settled on neither of them.
Prior to the public comments period, County Mayor Matt Adcock tried to clarify the matter and ease public concerns during Thursday night’s meeting.
“I think there might have been rumors that got out that we have bought some property by Riley Avenue for a jail which is false. The county has not made any action on any property. We have explored many different options throughout the county but we have not purchased any land and I haven’t heard any county commissioner say anything in support of buying any land off of Riley Avenue by the hospital or golf course. Tuesday night, February 27 our jail committee will be meeting at 5 p.m. in the history room of the county complex where a lot of that conversation (questions) will probably be answered in detail,” said County Mayor Adcock.
Dr. Timothy Tobitt, a resident of Riley Avenue, addressed the commission during the public comment period imploring the county to not consider building a jail or justice center in a residential neighborhood. Dr. Tobitt also had a petition signed by dozens of concerned citizens which he plans to present to the jail committee Tuesday night.
“Would you want this in your back yard, “asked Dr. Tobitt. “This property (possibly being considered) borders Riley and Lincoln Street and has been graded as commercial property, but it sets in the middle of all residential homes. Think of the detriment that it would bring to public property and what it would do to property values, resales, etc. and what it does from a resource perspective. Up until a few years ago until that property was developed there weren’t areas close by that even had sewer. So, we can look at the price tag as to whatever the offer may be from the hospital perspective, but I’ll bet you will double that (cost) easily trying to do (land) prepping,” said Dr. Tobitt.
“Another concern is that I have four young children and I don’t want to look out the back door of my home and have to see people wearing orange jumpsuits looking at my daughters swimming in the pool”.
Dr. Tobitt also questioned the need for building a jail for as many as 272 beds, as has been recommended by a County Technical Assistance Service (CTAS) jail study to meet future needs although the county is seeking cost options for fewer beds.
“Do we really need to be pushing that envelope to say to people who come to our town that we have the biggest and best jail because when people move (relocate here) they want to know what our infrastructure is and how are our schools. If we don’t take care of the school’s part, I’m afraid we’ll need the 272 beds but I am happy to hear those 272 beds is kind of a no (by the county),” he said.
Tonya Sullivan of Willow Oak Drive also addressed the commission and echoed Dr. Tobbit’s request that the county not build a jail in a residential area.
“I realize that you as commissioners need to do something to address the concerns. I requested from the county mayor (today) information about what the state is requiring for the number of beds and I asked if there was a recommendation, but I did not get that paperwork (prior to the meeting). I am asking that this board not put this (jail/judicial center) in a residential area whether it be on Riley Avenue or any other but to keep it downtown. There is property downtown that would be available even in a remodel or however you need to do that to address the concerns that you have. I know surrounding counties do not have 272 beds. I am not sure what number we are trying to obtain but I think purchasing property and relocating is a mistake. We already have facilities, and we would be paying today’s prices to get what we (already) have and then adding to that. I don’t feel like that would be a responsible action. I would like to compel upon you not to locate it in a neighborhood that would impact people’s property values. The residents on Riley Avenue in the Oaks community have worked really hard. We have restrictions there and this would be completely impeding on everything everyone has worked for and it wouldn’t be any different if it were in your back yard. It (jail) is located downtown right now so I don’t see why we would want to move that. I think there is property available that the county owns or can obtain so I would ask that you keep it downtown and not abandon the downtown area. The courthouse is still viable. Even if you left the (current jail) facilities and did a full justice center this county still has to maintain that building (courthouse). We still have to fix the (courthouse) heat and air. I understand someone said today we didn’t have heat in there. We still have to maintain that. You’re not saving any money. I hope that you do the responsible thing with the county’s money,” said Sullivan.
Steve Mitchell of 440 West Main Street also addressed the commission making the same appeal as both Dr. Tobitt and Sullivan.
“My family moved to Smithville about a year and a half ago. It was a real blessing because it was a real chance for us to get back to middle Tennessee. My wife and I are both originally from middle Tennessee. We had been gone for about 25 years due to work and other reasons. We always wanted to return to middle Tennessee and Smithville and DeKalb County provided a way for that to happen and was more affordable than being in Nashville and it reminded us of the Tennessee we grew up in. We fell in love with Smithville and DeKalb County, and we have cherished our time here so far. Obviously with the rumor that there could potentially be a plot of land off Riley Avenue (for a jail) I would also ask that this property not be a consideration for that because we are very close, just a property away from that and because this is a beautiful little area of town,” said Mitchell.
During Tuesday night’s Jail committee meeting, the county’s architect and contractor are expected to provide cost projections for a possible 150, 190 or 225 bed jail facility.
Again, even if the jail committee decides on the number of beds for a new jail or judicial center, the county has not yet identified a suitable location to build it.
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