Cherokee Voters Reject HOST, Support Charter Amendment
Voters in Holly Springs also retained their incumbent city council members.
Riding a wave of opposition to new tax measures, voters in Cherokee County rejected a proposal to impose a one percent sales tax to be used to roll back county property taxes.
Cherokee voters rejected the measure, with 36 percent, or 32,150, voting in favor while 64 percent, or 56,190, voted against the first question. On the HOST's second question, 46 percent, or 40,344, approved the measure while 54 percent, or 46,830 voted to defeat it.
The Homestead Option Sales Tax would have used revenue from the sales tax to reduce the county’s maintenance and operations portion of property taxes. It would not have applied to the school, fire district taxes and parks bond imposed by the county.
Georgia law required two questions to be placed on the ballots and residents needed to vote yes on both in order for the referendum to pass.
The law would have allowed the county to use up to 20 percent of the funds for capital projects. However, the Cherokee County Commission approved a resolution stating the board would have used 100 percent of the proceeds to roll back property taxes as long as a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax program is in place.
Voters in Cherokee also voted in favor of the controversial Amendment 1 ballot question, which will establish a separate commission to approve charter schools at the state level. The commission would approve the schools, even if the local boards of education denying charter school petitions.
Support for the amendment was stronger in Cherokee than in the rest of the state, with 59 percent of voters in favor of the amendment in Cherokee compared to 44 percent, or 38,646, in Cherokee who voted against the question.
Woodstock and Towne Lake voters, along with voters in some portions of southwest Cherokee County, also elected Republican Michael Caldwell to become their new state representative. Caldwell defeated Democratic challenger Lillian Burnaman for the House District 20 seat with 77 percent, or 18,415 votes to Burnaman's 23 percent, or 5,522 votes.
Voters in Holly Springs chose to retain their incumbent city council members. Sixty-seven percent, or 2,210 voters in Post 3 voted for incumbent Michael Zenchuk over challenger Alex Berkobin. Berkobin received 33 percent, or 1,098 votes.
"I want to say a big thanks to all of those that showed their support and voted for me," Berkobin said. "I'd also like to congratulate Michael on his victory. This was my first time running for a political office and I learned a lot from the campaign process. I hope to apply those lessons to next time I choose to run."
In Holly Springs Post 4, incumbent Karen Barnett defeated Planning and Zoning Commissioner Bob Kovacs by a margin of 65 to 35 percent. Barnett garnered 2,179 votes to Kovacs' 1,199.
"While it's disappointing that I lost the election, I wish Karen the best over the next four years on the City Council," Kovacs told Patch.
"I will continue to serve the City of Holly Springs as a Planning & Zoning Commissioner, and in any other ways that I can. This was my first campaign for City Council, but it certainly won't be my last."
Post 5 incumbent Jeremy Smith and Mayor Tim Downing had no opposition in the election.