County Offical Info
Steve Pierce
Steve Pierce
Property Assessor
300 East Spring St
Room 1
Cookeville, TN 38501
8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.
Monday - Friday

My staff and I have prepared this information for the property owners of Putnam County. We believe that informing the property owners of their appraisals is one of our most important responsibilities. Our main goal as the Assessor's office is to achieve appraisal equalization throughout Putnam County, while maintaining state guidelines. We will continually address your needs and concerns through updated procedures and employee training thus, improving our ability to provide quality service.

Our office has no control over your property tax rate, which is established by the Putnam County Board of Commissioners, based on their budgets and spending. In fact, the County Commissioners are authorized by State Law to establish a tax rate that will generate the same amount of revenue they had the prior year, even if property appraisals have declined.

The market value appraisal is not and cannot be raised or lowered simply for the purpose of raising or lowering property taxes. By law, appraisal values can only change when (1) the property owner makes changes in the property or (2) during the year of reappraisal (every five years). The Tennessee Division of Property Assessments audits appraised values in every county to ensure compliance with the law. County-wide real estate sales transactions are reviewed annually to determine if the market values have changed, thus requiring a change in the market value appraisal. The appraisal represents the value of your property in relation to the real estate market. If you disagree with the market appraisal of your property, you should contact the Property Assessor's Office at 931-528-8428. The only other discretionary part of the formula is the spending and resulting tax rate levied by the Putnam County Commission or your local city council. The property tax revenue needs of each county/city, when divided by the total property value of their tax roll, determines the tax rate. That rate is then applied to the value of each piece of property in the city/county to determine the amount of taxes property owners pay. The county/city budget meetings are open to the public.

Important Dates for Property Owners

January 1st         

  • Property is appraised for tax purposes as to the condition of the land and buildings.
  • Property is assessed to the person whose name is on the deed as of January 1.

March 1st     

  • Deadline for filing self-reporting business personal property forms.
  • Deadline for filing Greenbelt application for current year.

May 15th     

  • Assessment Change Notices are mailed. Only owners that have changed the condition of the property will be notified. All others will remain the same as the tax year before. This does not apply to the year of reappraisal which is every 5 years.  All property owners will receive new notices during reappraisal.

June 1st     

  • Putnam County Board of Equalization begins meeting. Appointments must be made by calling 528-8428 and must be made no later than June 15.

June 15th   

  • Deadline for making appointment with Putnam County Board of Equalization.

June 30th     

  • Putnam County Board of Equalization adjourns and NO changes can be made for tax purposes after this date.

Appraisal Value and Assessed Value:

Your assessment change notice has two columns. The appraisal value is the market value for your property. Assessment value is a percentage of the market value. (25% residential/farm 30% business personal property and 40% commercial). The assessment value divided by $100.00 and multiplied by the tax rate will give you the amount that should appear on your tax notice from the Putnam County Trustee's Office.

Who Sets my Tax Rate?

The tax rate is set by the various taxing authorities within whose jurisdiction your property is located. These entities are authorized by law to levy taxes on real estate and business personal property to fund their operations and services as shown in their proposed budgets. The Putnam County Board of Commissioners set the county tax rate and each city (Algood, Cookeville, Monterey, or Baxter) will set your city taxes.

Definitions You Should Know:

  • Assessor: The elected official whose legal responsibility is to discover, appraise, and assess all property in the county.
  • Appraised Value: The total value of all land and improvements on the property.
  • Assessment: A percentage of the total appraised value. This total is the figure the County Commission uses for tax purposes. (25% Residential, 40% Commercial, 30% Business Personal Property)
  • Improvements: All buildings, structures, pools, etc fixed to the land.

How is the Appraised value determined?

Factors considered in arriving at the appraised value of property include:

  • Present cash value (market value) of the property. This can be defined as the most probable selling price, in cash, in a competitive market, assuming that the buyer and seller acted knowledgeable and without duress. Such is determined by a review of the price comparable properties sold for in various market areas throughout Putnam County prior to January 2011.
  • The highest and best use. This means the probable and legal use of vacant land or improved property, which is physically possible, appropriately supported, financially feasible, and which results in the highest value. This also includes the present use of the property. Many times the highest and best use is not the "present" use.
  • The location of the property. This can have a bearing on its value for obvious reasons.
  • The size of the property.
  • The cost of the property and the present replacement value of improvements.
  • The condition of the property. Items relating to routine maintenance are not considered to affect the value. Any unusual damage is a significant consideration.
  • Income from the property. Typical income, expenses, vacancy rates, and capitalization rates are determined from surveys and studies and applied to comparable properties. Unique factors or deficiencies relating to an income property should be given special considerations. However, income-producing property must, by law, be valued at its maximum potential. Therefore, poor management or self-imposed conditions which restrict income, cannot be considered as a basis for lowering the appraised value.

What if I don't agree with my property appraisal?

If you feel that the market value appearing on your assessment change notice is incorrect, you should contact the Property Assessor's office to speak with an appraiser at 931-528-8428. It is the duty of the Property Assessor to determine that your property is appraised correctly. Our objective is to be fair and accurate using available resources and considering those forces which impact property values in your neighborhood. Our office does not control property values, they rise and fall with the real estate market. After meeting with an appraiser and examining the relevant data, you have the right to meet with the Putnam County Board of Equalization.

What is the County Board of Equalization?

Five members appointed by the county commission serve on the equalization board. Members are from different sections of the county. This board considers and renders appraisal adjustment decisions.

These members represent the five areas of the county:

  • North- Gary Bush
  • South- Ronnie Lafever
  • East- Brian Eads
  • West- Arlene Bush
  • City of Cookeville- Mark McKinley

How do I prove my case?

In order to obtain a reduction in appraised value before the board, you must prove that the appraised value of your property exceeded actual market value. Your presentation before the board must be based upon facts and details. One good way to prepare for your hearing is to gather evidence regarding sales of comparison properties, pictures, etc. Information concerning sales can be obtained in the Assessor's office, local realtors, or private appraisers.

What happens at the hearing?

An appointment for a board hearing can be made through the Assessor's office. The chairman of the board will conduct the meeting, and you will present your evidence and testimony in support of your appeal. After the hearing, you will receive a written notice with the board's final decision on your appraisal at the end of their session.