Economic development needed to avoid tax increase

Published 11:23 am Friday, June 8, 2018

For the fourth consecutive year, the City of Franklin has managed to narrowly avoid an increase to its real estate tax rate, which has remained at 99 cents per $100 of assessed value since the beginning of the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

While we congratulate the city’s staff for developing a balanced budget without a tax increase, we also wish to draw readers’ attention to one of the factors that fueled this year’s discussion on raising taxes: the closing of the Farm Fresh on Armory Drive.

Franklin has seen its fair share, perhaps more than its fair share, of businesses closing their doors over the past several years.

When a large business such as Farm Fresh closes, the city must determine how to balance its budget in the coming fiscal year without the revenue it would have received from real estate taxes, machinery and tools taxes, business license fees and use of the city’s utility services.

One way to avoid a repeat of this year’s debate over whether to make cuts to the city’s spending or to raise taxes is through economic development. If new businesses and residents come to Franklin, the city will have more revenue to work with, even if tax rates stay the same.

City residents who have been considering starting their own businesses can do their part to avoid a future tax increase by setting up shop right here in downtown Franklin.

We encourage all business-minded residents considering a startup to talk with Dan Howe of the Downtown Franklin Association and/or Amanda Jarratt of Franklin-Southampton Economic Development, and perhaps enter next year’s Startup Downtown Franklin competition.