Property Tax Assessments Raise Concerns


County assessor explains process for new adjustments

By Shannon Taylor

MVP Regional Senior Investigative Reporter

Most, if not all, Weakley Countians have received their 2023 assessment change notice in the mail. Many have reached out in confusion regarding the assessment, which nearly doubled for some, and Weakley County Property Assessor Lisa Odle said that their office phones have been ringing off the hook. Odle took the time to explain the assessment so that everyone in the county could better understand the changes.

Odle said that the biggest misconception that people have in receiving these notices and seeing that their value has doubled, they think that their taxes are doubling as well.

“That is not always the case — really hardly ever is the case,” she stressed. Odle said that they do have people where their tax dollars actually went down. Instances where a property’s tax amount increases would be a property that had a lot of improvements, like those in Dresden rebuilding and repairing after the Dec.10 2021 tornado, Odle said.

Odle explained that they don’t go inside of any home for assessment. She added if they don’t know those updates, they cannot adjust, and asked people to call and let them know those details so that they can adjust accordingly.

Regarding the assessment nearly doubling for some, Odle said that Weakley County has not had an appraisal since 2018 and that they are reappraising for 2023, based on the five-year schedule. Previous years’ sales must be used according to state law, which she explained that the housing market in 2022 was busy, which reflects those new values.

“This is not an uncommon thing in the state; it’s just very shocking and uncommon to our county,” Odle stressed.

Odle explained that when appraisals go up, the tax rate goes down.

“In a reappraisal year, by state law, whatever money the county took in for tax dollars, this year that is all they can take in. You can’t use a reappraisal to get more money — you have to adjust the tax rate — the state does that also. They issue what we call a certified tax rate and that tax rate will generate the same amount of money as last year,” she explained. Odle said this is why the values are way up, but the tax rate has to drop because there’s no way to leave it where it’s at and make the same amount of money.

The property assessor explained that although the county can’t generate any more money, they, or any city, can choose to exceed their certified tax rate. What they would have to do, she explained, is hold a public hearing and then have two readings where it is voted on and it would need to be publicized. Odle said it is not common, nor has it been done in Weakley County, and the tax rate has not been changed in five years, nor has it been exceeded to her knowledge.

The only way a property’s tax percentages would have changed since 2018 would be if something was added to improve a property. If there were a big increase between those years, it would not have been reflected because it was not a reappraisal year.

Odle said that this was a state-wide assessment and that these are common. She explained that every county in the state of Tennessee goes through a reappraisal, but not all in the same year. She reported this year there are three counties in Northwest Tennessee under appraisal per requirements under state law. The reappraisals are conducted by the state, but the assessor’s office assists the state by measuring the buildings and by keeping track of any new changes in between appraisals. It’s the state that takes that data and sets the base rates for the reappraisal, according to Odle.

Odle explained that just the county tax rates are coming down and not the entire state’s tax rate. “It’s coming down a considerable amount. We don’t know exactly how much yet,” Odle said.

She explained that this is due to people calling in regarding their assessment and changes being made. After those adjustments are made, the assessor’s office computers will be shut down and a new notice will be printed with the values that were changed.

The hearings at the assessor’s office will end Friday, May 19. When everything is checked and keyed, the notices should be mailed out around the middle of next week according to Odle, but there is no guarantee, as that could be delayed depending on how many people call in for adjustments.

The current tax rate is 1.9727 percent and Odle said that she can’t with certainty say what that rate will be when it drops, but she was expecting that it would drop about 40-50 cents. The assessment letter does not detail what the property tax rate will be and Odle said that it will be set in June once the changes are finished and they go in front of the Board of Equalization. People can go to the Board of Equalization if they have previously talked to the assessor’s office and couldn’t come to an agreement.

“I don’t want anyone in Weakley County feeling like we are not being fair with them or we’re picking on an area because that is not our intention,” expressed Odle.

Odle said that she understands people’s frustrations and that their office has seven phones and six people for anyone to call about their concerns Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at 731-364-3677. The assessor’s office email is and its Facebook page can be followed for information.

Odle said she wants people to let their office know if something needs to be adjusted, “we’re doing the best we can do.”

The next reappraisal for Weakley County will be in 2028.

Editor’s note: This is a developing story. Check future editions for information about disputes and the impact of the assessment as it pertains to mortgages, real estate sales and insurance rates.