Cherokee sets millage rate hearings

The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners will consider establishing 2015 property tax (millage) rates at three upcoming hearings. They’re set for 6 p.m. July 7, 21 and 23 at the Cherokee County Administration Building, 1130 Bluffs Parkway, Canton.

County Manager Jerry Cooper said officials want to hold the general fund millage rate flat at 5.728, above a revenue-neutral rollback rate of 5.457, to provide 5 percent cost-of-living raises for county employees. Officials are estimating the county’s tax digest will grow 6.28 percent after appeals to $7.97 billion. A county budget online presentation shows that, under a zero-based $67.2 million potential budget for FY 2016, some $2.28 million would be earmarked for the COLA adjustment using both additional tax revenue and reserve cash.

Cooper said public safety employees got a 10 percent raise last year after county officials determined their pay was 15 percent below market and that employees were leaving for other jurisdictions. He said the proposed FY 2016 increase for all workers would essentially close the public safety gap.