Property Tax Working Group

This project was conducted from February 2019 – July 2020. It is no longer an active project and the information on this website is no longer updated.


The Property Tax Working Group was officially formed by a Council motion; however, the idea for the working group emerged when Carol Gibbs, President/CEO of the Mt. Auburn Community Development Corporation, approached Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman with concerns about how to protect vulnerable homeowners and allow them to continue living in their homes while development occurs in their neighborhoods. From this partnership, the working group was formed with the aim to preserve the integrity of neighborhoods by protecting residents who have owned and lived in their homes for many years. The working group also aimed to assure that these residents, who may be in danger of losing their homes due to rising cost of property taxes, have choices that will allow them to continue living in their homes and neighborhood. Here is a letter from Carol Gibbs at the beginning of the process:

During the summer of 2018, I went to talk with Vice Mayor Smitherman about my concerns about vulnerable residents being displaced during the redevelopment and development of our neighborhoods.  I had watched other neighborhoods struggle with the displacement of our senior and disabled homeowners who lived with limited incomes – those who had worked in our community for decades and made up the families who went our churches and whose children went to our schools and played in our parks and playgrounds.  In their younger years, these people served as PTA Moms, Boy Scout Leaders, or elders of our churches. I thought it was time to try and protect them from the necessary progress needed in our neighborhoods and allow them the choices that come with being a long term home owner.

What would that look like? I wasn’t sure. Perhaps that meant freezing their property taxes at the rate before the redevelopment/development started without forcing them to lose the increase in values.  I didn’t know, but the Vice Mayor agreed that we needed to try and protect them from forced displacement due to the dramatic increase in property taxes.

Vice Mayor Smitherman and I decided that we would co-chair a working group of representatives from various organizations working in this area of focus.  The leaders of these organizations would help us figure out what the best way to address this problem and would be able to keep their constituents informed along the way.  We felt that we could best communicate with the largest group of residents that way, which is very important to both of us.

As of April, we have met twice to lay the groundwork for the working group and identify some themes. In April, we had our first open public meeting to hear what community members think are the important aspects that we shouldn't lose. Our meetings are always open to the public and you may send us your thought through this webpage anytime that you are available.  It is important to all of us to get this right…..after all, we all care!

Carol Gibbs
Co-Chair, Property Tax Working Group
President/CEO, Mt. Auburn CDC

As directed by the Council motions, the Property Tax Working Group looked at trends and best practices that have been utilized in other areas of the country, especially those related to the issue of rising property taxes in areas experiencing significant levels of development and redevelopment, and made recommendations aimed at helping to keep senior and people living with disabilities in their homes and communities. The working group also proposed revisions to the City’s residential tax abatement program. Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman and Carol Gibbs served as the working group co-chairs. View the motion that established the Property Tax Working Group here, and the motion that added members to the working group here.


Working Group Meetings
The working group started meeting in February 2019 and concluded its meetings in July 2020. Working group meetings were scheduled for the third Thursday of every month. 12 regularly rescheduled working group meetings were held throughout the process. In addition to regularly scheduled meetings, five special working group meetings were held for Focused Recommendation Groups to complete their work and for the final meeting. Due to precautions related to COVID-19, working group meetings were suspended from March – June 2020. All meetings in July 2020 were held virtually on Zoom.

The working group initially met to establish goals and a foundation for their work. These were further informed and refined following a public meeting in April 2019. The working group then spent seven meetings (May – November 2019) educating themselves on topic areas and hearing from guest speakers who provided additional perspective. From December 2019 to July 2020, the working group operated in Focused Recommendation Groups and worked on writing and refining their recommendations for a final meeting on July 23, 2020.

For more information on the meetings, please see the Meeting Notes.

Public Engagement
While all working group meetings were open to the public, there were three meetings specifically designed to garner feedback directly from community members and stakeholders. These meetings were held at almost equal intervals throughout the process as seen in the timeline below. Notes from these meetings can be found in the Meeting Notes [link to meeting notes webpage]. As another method to gather feedback from community members and stakeholders, the Property Tax Working Group conducted two surveys. Survey summaries and responses can be found here.





During the December 19th Property Tax Working Group meeting, the working group split into subcommittees called "Focused Recommendation Groups." The groups are:

Group 1 and Group 2 held a meeting on Monday, January 13th to finalize their draft goals.

These groups were charged with bringing recommendations to the January Property Tax Working Group meeting.

Draft Recommendations as of January 29, 2020
A copy of the draft recommendations can be found here. The Property Tax Working Group solicited feedback via an online feedback form and through a public meeting on January 30th. All feedback can be found here and in the notes from the January 30th meeting.

Final Recommendations
The Property Tax Working Group refined recommendations during the month of July and will be presenting these recommendations at their July 23rd meeting. Please see recommendations below:

Approved Recommendation
These recommendations are the recommendations approved by the Property Tax Working Group members during their final meeting on July 23, 2020. The vote records from the July 23, 2020, can be found in the meeting’s notes.

Council Motions

In August 2020, Vice Mayor Smitherman introduced the following motions based on recommendations from the Property Tax Working Group:

Final Report

This Final Report outlines the Property Tax Working Group process and the recommendations that emerged from the process. It also compiles all meeting notes and surveys. The Final Report can be accessed here.


Resources and Materials


Contact Information

The Department of City Planning facilitated the Property Tax Working Group from February 2019 – July 2020. The working group process has concluded. For information regarding the proposed recommendations of the working group, please contact Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman’s Office at 513-352-3464.