Part of Davidson County will now go to Wilson County, according to a bill passed by the Tennessee General Assembly this week. As reported by The Tennessee Star, the latest development was the culmination of a lengthy process that began in 2019, undertaken by Davidson County resident Mason Hunter. Hunter’s property was divided between the two counties, and the only accessible driveway was located in Wilson County.
The boundary change received unanimous bipartisan support in both the House and Senate up until the final House vote on the bill. Only four members voted against the change: State Representatives Mark Cochran (R-Englewood), Ron Gant (R-Rossville), Chris Todd (R-Madison County), and Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville).
The boundary change initiative caused pushback initially from Metro Property Assessor Vivian Wilhoite. She claimed to The Star in a previous interview that Hunter was only requesting the change to avoid the 34 percent property tax hike. Her assessment of the situation captured media attention initially. However, the tax increase was announced in spring of 2020 – as The Star reported, this boundary change request began the previous year. Wilhoite also expressed concerns that granting the boundary change would open “Pandora’s box” for other residents to move their property lines, so as to avoid the property tax hike.
Last month, Nashville Mayor John Cooper promised that he would drop the property tax increase following the property reappraisals. During his annual address last week, he noted that the reappraisals allowed Nashville to become the lowest-taxed city in the state.
State Representative Susan Lynn (R-Mount Juliet) and State Senator Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) sponsored the bill. Lynn explained during the final House floor hearing that the proposal was brought to her by her county commission and the metro council for State Representative Darren Jernigan (D-Old Hickory).
She also clarified that this boundary change wouldn’t isolate the surrounding properties.
In response to a question from State Representative Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis) as to whether this legislation was a “secession bill,” Lynn clarified that it wasn’t.
None of the four representatives who voted against the bill spoke against it during the final House floor hearing.
Hunter couldn’t be reached for comment by press time.
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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Nashville City Hall” by Nicolas Henderson. CC BY 2.0.