City asking group homes housing former Greene Valley residents to pay property taxes

GREENEVILLE, TN (WJHL)- Dozens of people are transitioning out of Greene Valley Developmental Center, an institution for adults with disabilities set to close next year. Because of the state-mandated closure, residents of Greene Valley are moving in to private group homes.

Greeneville city leaders say the private organizations that own these tax-exempt homes have insisted on being treated like any other residential home. But Greeneville’s City Administrator Todd Smith said they aren’t like other homes because as of now taxpayers are footing the bill for the group home’s city services.

Smith said the state property tax assessment office determines what organizations are tax exempt.

Services like trash pickup, police patrols, and road maintenance are services that as of now the private group homes will get but not pay for.

“There’s a great amount of city services that are going to be placed in those areas and we’re asking them to compensate the citizens in Greeneville for those services there and pay a property tax like every other resident does,” Smith said.

“There’s concern about the infrastructure and the ability for the town and the community to be able to take up the slack of all these services, numerous properties are being taken off the tax rolls,” Rep. David Hawk (R-Greeneville) said.

Hawk said as far as what they can change, “We’ll see if there’s any provision that may be available in the state law to allow this to happen. I’ve talked to some representatives from the Tennessee Municipal League who think that there may be some precedent at least in some specific areas where there could be some action taken. We’re still looking into it to see exactly what can be done,” Hawk said.

The state has extended the closure date for Greene Vallley several times. Most recently, in September the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities said challenges came up in building some of the private homes for residents so Greene Valley will stay open until spring of 2017.

Copyright 2016 WJHL. All Rights Reserved.

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