CANTON — The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners voted Thursday night to adopt the full county tax rate for fiscal 2014.
In a 3-0 vote, with commissioners Jason Nelms and Brian Poole absent, the commission approved the total tax rate of 29.797 mills for the county, which includes 9.947 mills for county government and 19.85 mills for the Cherokee County School District.
The Board of Commissioners voted earlier this month to roll back the county rate from 9.999 mills in 2013 to 9.947 mills in an effort to offset the recent increase in property values around the county.
County Manager Jerry Cooper praised the board Thursday night for its efforts in the past decade to keep taxes down.
“Many, many counties in the metro area maintained their millage rate over the years, never rolled the millage rate back to offset inflationary cost increases; you have on the other hand, rolled back the millage rate,” Cooper told the board. “You should be commended for what you’ve done over the years.”
Commissioner Harry Johnston said since 2000, the board has adjusted the general operations millage rate only to combat inflation.
“On the general M&O, we’ve really absorbed every bit of the inflation for 13 straight years,” Johnston said.
But Johnston said only adjusting the tax rate for inflation and not to provide more services for the tens of thousands who have moved into Cherokee County in the past 13 years, some county services have surely suffered.
“Some service levels have unavoidably probably dropped,” he said. “If you look today at the (number of) sheriff’s deputies per 1,000 citizens, I suspect it’s a little lower than it was in 2000. That’s how we’ve absorbed inflation.”
The millage rate decrease approved by the Board of Commissioners for county government results in a $2.08 drop from 2013 in the tax amount charged for every $100,000 in value a property has. For a homeowner in a $200,000 home, the change takes the annual bill down from $799.92 with the fiscal 2013 rate to $795.76 with the 2014 rate, a decrease of $4.16 before exemptions.
On Wednesday night, the School Board approved its fiscal 2014 rate of 19.85 mills, which is the same rate from last year.
At 19.85 mills, homeowners in Cherokee will be charged $794 for each $100,000 in value their home holds, prior to exemptions. For a $200,000 home, the rate before exemptions will be $1,588, the same rate from last year. However, with property values around Cherokee County up, some could see a higher tax bill for schools if their home has increased in value.
The overall Cherokee County rate of 29.797 will result in a tax burden of $1191.88 prior to exemptions for each $100,000 in value a home holds. For a $200,000 home, the bill comes in at $2,383.76, before exemptions.