The forum, sponsored by the Cherokee Bank and Cherokee Tribune, took place at the Chambers at City Center in Woodstock and drew a crowd of about 25 residents and local officials.
Rogers told the group the proposed 1 percent sales tax to be used to roll back property taxes was an opportunity to move toward a fairer and more equitable tax.
“Property tax is the most regressive tax, because there is no relationship between your ability to pay property tax and your ownership of property,” Rogers said.
Rogers said that those who spend money and pay sales tax can affect how much taxes they are required to pay by reducing their spending, and that those using the roads and other infrastructure of the county to come in and shop will also help offset the county tax bill.
County Commission Chair Buzz Ahrens led the panel discussion and Clint Mueller, legislative director of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, was on hand to answer questions about the issue.
Ahrens said the law governing the tax allows a minimum of 80 percent of HOST revenue to be used for exemptions on homeowner property tax bills and 20 percent toward capital improvements.
However, Cherokee commissioners decided on Sept. 18 to use 100 percent of revenue for property tax relief because SPLOST is already in place for capital expenditures.
“You all approved an extension of the SPLOST, so we don’t need these funds for capital expenditures,” Ahrens said.
Rogers said that if the commission had not adopted the resolution to use all of the monies to offset property taxes, he would not be in support of the ballot question.
Voters will be asked two questions: If HOST should be approved and if 100 percent of revenue should be used to reduce homeowner property taxes.
In order for HOST to pass, both questions must be answered in the affirmative, Ahrens said.