Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

This section contains some of the most frequently asked question regarding your local McMinn County Government. 

 

County Mayor’s Office

 

  1. How do I report a littering problem on my county road?

Call the County Mayor ’s office at 423.745.7634 and your road will be placed on the list for the next available cleanup

 

  1. What is the current population of McMinn County ?

The latest estimates place the county’s population at 52,000.

 

  1. What is the tax rate in McMinn County ?

The property tax rate is $1.55 per $100 of assessed value.  Residential dwellings are assessed at 25% of value, while commercial structures are assessed at 40% of value.  The sales tax rate is 9% on the dollar.

 

  1. When does the County Commission meet?

The McMinn County Commission meets on the third Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the Blue Room of the Courthouse.  Special called meetings may take place at any time with proper notification.

 

  1. Does the county help with putting gravel on driveways?

It is against the law for the county to make improvements to private property.  However, the Highway Department will place tiles for new driveway connections since the tiles will be on county right-of-way.

 

  1. What services are offered at the McMinn County Airport ?

The McMinn County Airport offers routine airplane maintenance, inspections, fuel, storage, and plane rental and flight instruction.  Commercial passenger service is not offered.

 

Click here for more information on the McMinn County Airport.

 

Phone:  423.745.7634

Fax:      423.744.1600

 

 

County Trustee

 

  1. What is the County Trustee ’s primary job?

The Trustee’s primary responsibility is to collect property taxes and invest idle funds.

 

  1. What are the collection dates?

October 1st thru following February 28th without penalty.  On or after March 1st, penalty and interest of 1½% per month is added to delinquent taxes.

 

  1. Can payment of taxes be mailed?

Yes, payment of taxes may be made by mail.  Post mark date determines payment date.  A receipt will be returned via mail.

 

  1. Can they put a lien on property for delinquent taxes?

Yes, delinquent taxes are a lien on the property regardless of ownership.  Title search: purchasers of property are urged to check for delinquent taxes or liens against the property they plan to purchase.

   

  1. When are tax notices mailed?

Annual Tax Notices are mailed in October to the owner of the property as of January 1st.

 

  1. What if my mailing address has changed?

Current mailing address is the responsibility of property owner who must notify the Assessor or property.

 

  1. Is there any tax relief for the elderly and disabled?

Yes.  Elderly tax relief information is available for low income property owners over sixty five.

 

  1. Is there any tax relief for disabled veterans?

Yes. There are programs for 100% veterans.  Information is available at the Trustee’s office.

 

  1. Can I pay my current taxes before I pay my delinquent taxes?

No.  Delinquent taxes must be paid before current taxes can be paid.

 

 

Assessor’s Office

 

  1. How is my property appraised?

To appraise your property, a staff of professionally trained appraisers:

 

·         Reviews and verifies permits relating to your property

·         Compares physical structure to permit

·         Carefully measures outside perimeter of the structure

·         Sketches footprint of the structure

·         Sections out porches, patios, garages and unfinished areas which are computed at a different rate from heated areas

·         Makes special notes of exterior wall material, fireplaces, roof structure, story height, bedrooms and any additional features

·         Transfers all measurements, notes and preliminary sketches to a property record card

·         Values property and classifies it to ensure that the proper assessment is applied

 

  1. What is the difference between an appraisal and an assessment?

Confusion over the difference is an appraised value and assessed value is quite common.  The appraised value of a property is an estimate of its fair market value, while the assessed value is a factional amount of the appraisal.  The fractional amount varies depending on the classification of the property, which is determined by its use.  The assessed value, not the appraised value, is applied to the tax rate to produce a tax bill.  One of the reasons the assessor inspects all property is to verify how it is used.  The assessment percentages applied to the various property classifications are shown below:

 

 

Public Utility Property 55%
Commercial Property 40%
Industrial Property 40%
Business Personal Property 30%
Residential Property  25%
Farm Property 25%

                                 

 

                        Examples:

The assessed value of a residential property with an appraised value of $100,000 would be $25,000.  (.25 x $100,000- $25,000)

 

A commercial property appraised at the same value would have an assessed value of $40,000.   (.40 x $100,000 = $40,000)

3. What is personal property?

Personal Property is the tangible and intangible property used, or held for use, in a business.  “Business” includes:

 

·         Partnerships

·         Corporation

·         Other business Association not issuing stock

·         Individuals operating for a profit as a business or profession in McMinn County

 

There are 10 groups of tangible property:

 

1.     furniture, fixtures, general equipment and all other property not listed in any other group

2.     computers, copiers fax machines, peripherals, and small tools

3.     molds, dies, and jigs

4.     aircraft, towers, and boats

5.     manufacturing machinery

6.     billboards, tanks, and pipelines

7.     scrap properties

8.     raw materials

9.     vehicles

10.  construction-in-progress

 

  1. How is personal property appraised?

The tangible personal property schedule is used to calculate personal property appraisals for businesses.  When completing the schedule for a business, it is important to include all tangible personal property used or held for use in the business as of January 1 of the current year.  To avoid a forced assessment, a completed schedule must be returned to the Assessor before March 1 of each year.          

 

            Some quick tips:

·         For each group of property items, list the original cost by the year acquired under Revised Cost

·         For year in which the cost on the file is provided, list any new cost totals resulting from acquisition or disposition of property  (under Revised Cost)

·         Equipment purchased at the end of a lease must be reported in the year in which the lease began showing the original lease contract cost, not the payoff year and value.

·         Personally owned items used in a business must be reported in the year in which the lease began showing the original lease contract cost, not the payoff year and value.

·         A separate schedule must be files for each business location.

 

All items fully depreciated or exposed on your accounting records must be included.

 

For more information on completing a personal property schedule, contact the personal property department:

Jan Moses
McMinn County Courthouse
6 East Madison Avenue
Athens , TN   37303
(423) 745-2743


 

  1. What is a forced assessment?

A forced assessment occurs when a business owner fails to file a personal property schedule.  When the business owners fail to file a personal property schedule, the assessor has no information to determine a personal property assessment; therefore, the last year’s appraisal is duplicated.  To have a forced assessment set aside, an appeal must be filed with the local Board of Equalization prior to the current year’s deadline.

 

  1. Why is reappraisal necessary?

Reappraisal eliminates inequities which are created over time by changes in the real estimate market, ensuring fairness and equity for all property owners.  A property’s fair market value can increase or decrease.  If the assessor’s record of a property’s fair market value does not change with the market, some people could pay too much in property taxes, while others could pay too little.  That is why the State of Tennessee requires the McMinn County Assessor to conduct reappraisals every five years.  Reappraisals allow the assessor to adjust property values so that every property in McMinn County is appraised at fair market value.  The next cost reappraisal is scheduled for 2013.

 

Between reappraisal cycles, the assessor’s staff:

 

·         Visually inspects all property in McMinn County so that the assessor’s assessment records reflect each property’s actual characteristics, such as: square footages, story height, extension wall type, garage, carport and detached buildings.

·         Verify all property transfers as they occur in the market places.  Appraisals verify each sale in order to ensure it is an arm-length transaction.  These verified sales and recorded in a sales file to compare to properties of similar size, age, location and description to help establish fair and equitable property values.

 

State law protects property owners during reappraisal years.  State laws also protect property owners from paying more than their fair share of property tax because a reappraisal has occurred.  It provides for adjusting the tax rate to a level that would bring in the same amount of revenue as before the reappraisal years at the expense of the property owners.

 

The assessor’s office is your complete resource for property related information in McMinn County .  We can answer questions on a wide range of topics from property ownership and sales history to appraisals and square footage.

 

 

Circuit Court Clerk

 

  1. What is the filing fee for General Session Court Civil Warrant?

$143.45 with no service.  $161.45 with service.

 

  1. What is the filing fee for petition for contempt?

$75.00

 

  1. What is the filing fee for a divorce case with minor children?

$298.75

 

  1. What is the filing fee for a divorce case without minor children?

$223.75

 

  1. How may one avoid having a speeding violation reflected on his driving record?

By attending the TN Driver’s Improvement Program and paying court costs.

 

  1. What agency does one contact about reinstatement of revoked or suspended license?

 

TN Dept of Safety

Financial Responsibility Section

P.O. Box 945

Nashville , TN   37202

615.741.3954

 

  1. What child support payments will be receipted for by the Clerk’s Office after October 1, 1999?

Those cases which have never been involved with child support services and those cases which do not have a wage assignment since January 1994.

 

  1. How are prospective jurors selected?

By computer from a list which is purchased from the TN Dept. of Safety. Voter Registration records are not used.

 

  1. If selected to serve on a jury panel, what is the length of service? 
    • Grand Jury – One Year, serving alternate month
    • Petit Jury – Six Months, serving on scheduled days

 

 

Election Commission

 

  1. What if I can’t make it to vote during early voting or on Election Day, how can I vote?

               To vote by mail, a registered voter must fall under one of the following categories:

  • The voter will be outside the county of registration during the early voting period and all day on election day;
  • The voter or the voter’s spouse is enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited college or university outside the county of registration;
  • The voter’s licensed physician has filed a statement with the county election commission stating that, in the physician's judgment, the voter is medically unable to vote in person. The statement must be filed not less than seven (7) days before the election and signed under the penalty of perjury;
  • The voter resides in a licensed facility providing relatively permanent domiciliary care, other than a penal institution, outside the voter's county of residence;
  • The voter will be unable to vote in person due to service as a juror for a federal or state court;
  • The voter is sixty (60) years of age or older;
  • The voter has a physical disability and an inaccessible polling place;
  • The voter is hospitalized, ill, or physically disabled and because of such condition, cannot vote in person;
  • The voter is a caretaker of a person who is hospitalized, ill, or disabled;
  • The voter is a candidate for office in the election;
  • The voter serves as an election day official or as a member or employee of the election commission;
  • The voter’s observance of a religious holiday prevents him or her from voting in person during the early voting period and on election day;
  • The voter or the voter’s spouse possesses a valid commercial drivers license (CDL) or the voter possesses a valid Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card and certifies that he or she will be working outside the state or county of registration duringthe open hours of early voting and Election Day, and has no specific out-of-county or out-of-state address to which mail may be sent or received during such time.
  • The voter is a member of the military or is an overseas citizen.

  1. What will I need when I go to my polling place to vote on Election Day?

You will have to present the Registrar with a Photo ID.  This ID must be issued by the Federal Government or Tennessee State Government.  It could be a Passport, Military ID, Tennessee Drivers License, Tennessee Photo ID or Tennessee Voter ID Card issued at the Department of Safety.  No Student ID’s will be accepted and no City or County Photo ID’s will be accepted either.

  1. What if I forget my wallet or purse and I show up to vote with no identification, can I still vote?

You would be allowed to vote a Photo ID Provisional Ballot. Then you would have 2 business days after the election to take your photo id to the election commission office for your ballot to be counted.

 

  1. What if I am disabled, who can help me vote?

Anyone you wish to help you may do so.  The same rule applies to illiterate voters who need help as well.  A Democrat or Republican election official may also help you if you wish.

 

  1. Can I bring a sample ballot in with me when I go in the polling place to vote?

Yes, but you may not leave it in the machine, or use it to influence other voters.

 

  1. Can I wear a campaign T-shirt, hat or pin expressing support for a particular candidate when I go in to vote?

No.

 

  1. What will I have to do if I have moved but did not update my address with your office?

When you show up to vote you will have to fill out a Fail-Safe Affidavit which will update your address.  You may have to be sent to another polling place if your new address is in another precinct.  You are required to vote in the precinct in which you live.

 

  1. Will I have to state which political party I belong to when I register to vote?

No.  You do not register to vote by political party in the State of Tennessee .  However, if you wish to vote in a primary election, you must declare which party primary in which to vote.  You may only vote in one primary on the same day.

 

  1. What is a Primary?

A Primary is an election conducted by a political party in which more than one candidate of the same party is running for the same office.  A Primary Election will narrow the field of candidates down to one, who will then go on to run the General Election against the winner of the other political party’s Primary.

 

County Planner

 

  1. When do I take my plat "before the planning commission?

Depending on the situation, it may be staff approved.  If the lot(s) in questions meet all the following:

    • the lots have direct county road frontage (access is not by easement)
    • no new road is being built or extended to the lot
    • no new water line is being extended to the lot
    • only one additional lot is being split from an existing lot the plat can be staff approved.  This means that staff planner can direct you through the planning process without you have to go to an actual planning commission meeting.

 

  1. What are the building set backs?

35 feet from the front property line.  This distance is from the actual property line, not the edge of the road or the center line of the road. 

 

It may be necessary to use a surveyor to determine where the actual property line lies.

- 10 feet from the side property line

-15 feet from the rear property line

 

  1. Where do I obtain information concerning a septic tank permit or my existing septic tank?

From Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's (TDEC) McMinn County office at 744-7157.

 

  1. When does the Planning Commission meet?

The Planning Commission meets on the third Thursday of each month. 

Please note:  Plats that are to be presented to the planning commission must be received by the first Thursday of the month in order to be on the agenda for the regular meeting.

 

 

Juvenile Services

 

  1. Do you have to be involved with Juvenile Court to receive services?

No.  We take non-court referrals from schools, parents, self-referrals, agencies and interested individuals.  Those referred to us are at risk to be involved with Juvenile Court in the future.

 

  1. Is there a facility in McMinn County where juveniles can be held for long-term treatment?

No.  The McMinn County Juvenile Center is funded and staffed for short-term emergency placement mainly overnight till court the following day.  A juvenile who is under the legal control of the McMinn County Juvenile Court can be placed in state custody are ordered to pay 21% of their income to the state for child support.

 

  1. What is the cost of services from the McMinn County Department of Juvenile Services?

There are no fees for our services as we are funded by McMinn County , Athens City , State and United Way of McMinn County .  If a juvenile is found guilty in Juvenile Court they will have to pay court costs of $75.  If the juvenile is held at the Juvenile Center , parents can be ordered to pay costs of up to $150 a day.

  1. Are the probation officers at the schools?

There are probation officers daily at McMinn County and McMinn Central High Schools ; three days a week at Athens Junior High; and ½ day each week at Westside and North City Schools .

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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