The county will hold a special called meeting at 11 a.m. for the second public hearing for the full rollback rate of 5.483, and will hold the third public hearing at their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday night.
Commissioners plan to vote on the tax rate at 6 p.m. at the Cherokee County Administration Building, 1130 Bluffs Parkway in Canton, for the county millage rate as well as the millage rates approved by the Cherokee County Board of Education.
Commissioners voted June 6 to advertise a millage rate of 5.528, down from 5.680 last year, with the use of $500,000 in reserves to support its general fund for the upcoming year.
However, Cooper told commissioners at their June 19 meeting he met with the county finance team and they were able to present a full rollback.
“I want to thank the chairman and commissioners for their leadership and guidance throughout the process, as well as all agencies and departments who worked closely with me during budget negotiations,” Cooper said last month. “In addition, I want to thank Stacey Williams, as well as Jimmy Marquis, finance director, and members of the finance team including Delaine Cagle, Ariana Freimuth and many others for their exceptional budgetary and analytical skills. It was indeed a ‘team effort.’”
The plan adopted includes a 3 percent cost of living raise for county employees.
Cooper said the proposed 2018 zero-based budget is about $85 million and the major change is that the county will be using $4 million in reserves to pay down the principal balance of the Resource Recovery Development Authority bonds for the Ball Ground Recycling project, reducing the bond debt to $9.2 million.
Cooper said according to the latest tax digest, home values in the county increased by 8.58 percent before appeals.
Major changes to the general fund, Cooper said, include 15 new full-time positions with public safety, a new maintenance position, vehicle and custodial services with facilities management, and salary increases and new equipment for the public works department.
The county manager said changes to the fire fund included the addition of the Canton Fire Department through the consolidation that occurred last year and the hire of 16 new fire department and EMS positions.
Cooper said of the $526.05, which is what the average homeowner would pay in taxes for the 2018 fiscal year with the proposed budget and 3 percent COLA, more than half of property taxes from residents would go toward law enforcement and judicial services.
The proposed millage rate to be advertised would include 5.483 mills for the general fund. Additionally, they are expected to set rates of 3.298 mills for the fire fund and 0.581 mills for the parks bond, which means a total rate of 9.362 mills.
Also on Tuesday’s agenda is an Intergovernmental Agreement between all municipalities in the county for the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax projects that will head to voters Nov. 7.
The county and cities of Cherokee have identified their major improvement projects for the upcoming penny sales tax and if approved by voters, the proposed six-year extension would begin in August 2018 and is expected to bring in about $253 million to county coffers.
The SPLOST approved by voters in 2010 will expire next year.
Unincorporated Cherokee County has about 71 percent of the county’s population. Cities would also be included in the funding mechanism and receive 29 percent to split among the county’s five municipalities.
The plan for the funds earmarks $23 million to fund an addition to the county’s jail, as well as about $18 million for an expansion of the county’s judicial facilities.
Playground and tennis courts are now open.