County to mull decrease for millage rates
by Joshua Sharpe
June 30, 2013 12:00 AM | 2257 views | 0 0 comments | 83 83 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Brian Poole
Brian Poole
CANTON — With a public hearing on adjustments to the county’s millage rate scheduled during its meeting Tuesday, the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners is leaning toward a small reduction in the tax rate to offset the recent increase in property values.

The public hearing will be at 6 p.m. in the Cherokee County Administration Building and Conference Center in Cherokee Hall at 1130 Bluffs Parkway in Canton.

The Board of Commissioners will consider adopting the millage rates July 16.

During the Board of Commissioners meeting in June the board heard a presentation of three options for changes in the millage rate from Cherokee Chief Financial Officer Janelle Funk.

Funk laid out three options for the commissioners to consider, with one option resulting in a slight increase in the millage rate and two others leaving the county with a decrease of 0.6 mills.

Now, several commissioners say they are leaning toward choosing an option to decrease the millage rate for Cherokee County as a result of inflation in overall property values in the county. The millage rate adjustment being considered by the board would result in a decrease in the Cherokee millage rate from 9.999 mills to 9.939.

Commissioner Jason Nelms said Friday that though the rollback is small, it’s encouraging to have the option.

“It’s not a big rollback,” Nelms said. “But at the end of the day, it’s small step in the right direction. It’s terrific news.”

Nelms added that based on the presentation by Funk, the board saw that “We could fully roll back the rate without impacting services.”

One method which may be used to help with the rollback would be postponing several park projects planned in the $90 million parks bond for six to eight months, but Nelms said the parks would only be postponed and still will be constructed.

Commissioner Brian Poole agreed the timing is right for a decrease in taxes.

Poole said increasing the millage rate would be detrimental to county residents finally starting to feel the economy recover.

“The last thing we need to do is to hurt our citizens just as they are starting to get up from an economic beating they have taken over the last few years,” Poole said.

Commissioner Harry Johnston said Friday he is leaning toward voting to lower the millage rate, though the increase in property values will be small and “by itself won’t have a major effect on county taxpayers.”

“What’s more significant is that we won’t have to increase taxes, as we feared we might,” Johnston said. “More broadly, it looks like we’ve made it through the five-year economic downturn without a net tax increase and without extreme measures like layoffs and furloughs.”

Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens said Friday that should the board approve the decrease in the millage rate, some property owners could see a lower tax bill.

Ahrens said the decrease is small and “in dollar terms” isn’t significant, but “Psychologically, it is better than an increase.”

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