If you own real estate or personal property, you pay property taxes. If you pay rent, your landlord pays the taxes. The higher the value of the property and improvements, the higher the amount of taxes. Government, religious, and non-profit properties are exempt and do not pay property taxes.
The revenue from property taxes is distributed between four funds.
- General property tax revenue is deposited into the City's General Fund and is spent on general operating needs for Government Administration, Finance, Information Technology, Police, Fire, Planning & Development, Parks & Recreation and Public Works.
- Special Business District property taxes are levied for economic development programs and allocated to the Special Business District Fund. Revenue from the Special Business District has been instrumental in promoting the City's business district through marketing, advertising, and the attraction and retention of businesses. This is an additional tax above the regular property tax that has been dedicated to these efforts by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen.
- In August 2010 voters approved a general property tax levy to pay for the debt service on the 2009 Build America Bonds, with collection beginning in FY 2014. These bonds provided funds to purchase and renovate the new police facility. The General Fund supported the debt payments until the new levy went into effect.
- In April 2014 voters approved a General Obligation Bond which provided funds to pay for updates to street lighting; replacement of alleys; and resurfacing and repaving of neighborhood streets. The property tax levy established to support this bond began in FY 2015. The last General Obligation bond matured in FY 2013.
About 70% of property tax revenue is attributable to the General Fund, with the Special Business District receiving 5% of total property tax receipts, the 2009 Special Obligation Bond Fund receiving 13% of property tax receipts, and the 2014 General Obligation Bond Fund receiving the remaining 12%.