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Cherokee Voters To Consider New Sales Tax

Voters across the county will consider a new sales tax, elect new state representatives and possibly put some new faces on the Holly Springs City Council.

UPDATE: 2:15 p.m.: Poll manager at the Dixie precinct (Woodstock High School) said turnout has been steady, with no more than a 5 minute wait!

UPDATE 1:40 p.m.: Voters on Woodstock-Towne Lake's Facebook page indicate several reasons as to why the came out to vote: change in leadership, "4 more years" of President Barack Obama, the economy, jobs, immigration, the national budget, civic duty and "protecting our Amercian freedoms as outlined in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence."

UPDATE 1:00 p.m.: First-time voter Jamie McCord of Woodstock said she was "excited" to cast her ballot in the presidential race at the Deer Run precinct, located at Towne Lake Community Church. Another male voter who lives in Woodstock, who did not want to give his name, said he came out because he was concerned about the state of the national economy and "how we are treating our military." 

UPDATE 12:40: about 450 voters have come through to vote at the Booth precinct at E.T. Booth Middle School. Voter Ken McGhee of Towne Lake said he came out to support Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

"I think this is the true change we need need to believe in," he said. McGhee also had strong words on the proposed Homestead Option Sales Tax, which he voted n.

"They don't need more money," he said, referring to the county government. "They need to manage they money they have." 

UPDATE 12:15 p.m.: about 440 voters have cast ballots at the Woodstock precinct at Woodstock Public Library. 

UPDATE 11:30 a.m.: 846 voters have voted so far at the Little River precinct at Little River Elementary School

UPDATE: 11:00 a.m.: Voters on Woodstock-Towne Lake Patch's Facebook page have stated they've had minimal wait times at the polls, ranging from five minutes to 15 minutes.

While voters in Cherokee County don't have many contested races on the Nov. 6 ballot, there won't be a shortage of issues they will consider.

Along with choosing the next president and vice president of the United States, voters across the county will consider imposing another sales tax while other residents will vote in state house, state senate and city council races.  

If approved, the Homestead Option Sales Tax would impose a one percent sales tax that would be used to rollback the county’s M&O property taxes. It does not apply to the school, fire district taxes and parks bond imposed by the county. Nor does it apply to city property taxes.

Georgia law requires two questions to be placed on the ballots and residents have to vote yes on both in order for it to pass. Once enacted, the HOST does not have a sunset provision; it can only be terminated by referendum. 

The law allows the county to use up to 20 percent of the funds for capital purposes. However, the Cherokee County Commission approved a resolution stating the board will use 100 percent of the proceeds to roll back property taxes as long as a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax program is in place.

Holly Springs Voters To Pick Two Council Members

Voters in Holly Springs will elect two members of the city council, with a third seat and the mayorship being unopposed races. The race for Post 3 pits incumbent Michael Zenchuk against challenger Alex Berkobin. In Post 4, challenger Bob Kovacs will try to unseat incumbent Karen Barnett. Post 5 incumbent Jeremy Smith and Mayor Tim Downing have no opposition on the ballot.

Patch reached out to all candidates involved in contested Holly Springs elections, and received three responses. Click on the links to read the question and answer articles of candidates Berkobin, Zenchuk and Kovacs.

At The State Level

Voters in State House District 20, which includes Towne Lake and parts of Woodstock, will also choose their next state representative. Republican Michael Caldwell will face Democratic Challenger Lillian Burnaman today while Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock), Rep. Sean Jerguson (R-Holly Springs) and Rep. Calvin Hill (R-Hickory Flat) have no Democratic challengers on today's ballot. 

County voters will also vote on the proposed Amendment 1 ballot question, which if approved would create a separate state-level commission that could approve charter schools. Those schools would be approved even if local boards of education denied their petitions. 

Frank Jones November 06, 2012 at 01:57 PM
The county commissioners and other county officials are selling the HOST tax as tax neutral. However, it isn't necessarily tax neutral for many reasons. 1. Under state law, only 80% of HOST revenue is required to be used to offset M&O taxes. While the current commissioners support using 100%, future boards starting 1/1/13 could change their minds. 2. Voting for HOST doesn't eliminate the M&O tax and M&O will remain a viable tax for the county. Based upon current M&O tax rates, HOST will offset most of the M&O tax. However, the county can elect to raise M&O rates at any time. Per a conversation with an employee in the tax office, that is what other counties have done and she implied would happen in Cherokee. 3. The largest share of HOST tax burden will fall onto people who either rent or live in modest homes. They'll pay significantly more under host than under current law. 4. The largest share of HOST tax benefits will fall onto people owning $500,000 and up real estate. People and corporations owning multi-million dollar acreage, farms, office buildings, retail centers, and apartments will reap tens of thousand of benefits. 5. The additional 1% sales tax will encourage residents to shop in adjoining counties or on the internet. The additional 1% will discourage people visiting our county to shop. Our commissioners have shown their incompetence with the Bobo affair and that they cannot be trusted with this add'l 1%. Vote NO on HOST.
Jim Beam November 06, 2012 at 06:24 PM
I voted YES. Why shouldn't renters pay their fair share as well? For too long, they've been able to get their kids educated on the backs of home-owning, property-tax payers. This will spread the cost of education to all parents, not just those who own homes and pay property tax. Why should home owners be on the hook for paying the cost of education of non-property-tax payers? ESPLOST has already heaped a 1% sales tax onto shoppers and the county survived. It will survive this too if it passes.
Frank Jones November 06, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Steely...You've shown your incompetence again. The HOST tax has zero, and I mean ZERO, to do with education. HOST will offset the COUNTY portion of M&O, not the school portion. Further, renters have been paying property taxes via their rent payments as landlords factor property taxes into their rental rates. We'll have to wait and see whether Cherokee County residents are lemmings that follow the advice of the incompetent BOC or if the residents are rational individuals who did the math and researched the situation. Basic logic dictates that if million dollar homeowners, million dollar land owners, and million dollar commercial property owners receive thousands of dollars of tax relief, there is a corresponding tax increase on the non-million dollar masses. Assuming that you're not a million dollar land owner, you voted yourself a tax increase...You're so smart!
Jim Beam November 07, 2012 at 12:12 AM
There you go making assumptions again.
Jim Beam November 07, 2012 at 12:18 AM
And those 'factored in' rental rates are miniscule compared to what homeowners are paying. Your hypocrisy is apparent as usual, Frank. You were pro 1% tax increase when it was ESPLOST and now you're against it because it gives some relief to the already-overburdened upper-middle class you so despise and seek to tax as much as possible to pay for your failed liberal nonsense. Hopefully America turns it back on your liberal president tonight. America can't take 4 more years of your way of thinking and hatred of profit & achievement.
Frank Jones November 07, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Steely...there you go again making stuff up. You claim that I supported the 1% esplost. I have never supported or voted for e splost. Don't make stuff up. As to the renters, they pay m&o based upon the value of their apartment or rental house at the same rates as anyone else. Fact! As the your "over burdened upper middle class", they aren't over burdened as their tax rates are at an unprecedented low, they pay sales taxes on a mere fraction of their income. Further, the bulk of the HOST tax benefit isn't going to the upper middle class but instead to the upper and super upper classes. A little honestly from you would be surprising and welcomed.
Jim Beam November 07, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Frank, I sincerely apologize if I misaligned you as an ESPLOSTer. I do know that all the BOE candidates you supported over the summer were pro ESPLOST. Sorry for lumping you in with that. And it looks like you get to keep taking more and more of my property tax so congrats on your victory here.
Jim Beam November 07, 2012 at 03:23 AM
But hey, if A1's YES domination in Cherokee County continues throughout the state, perhaps some of that property tax will go towards charter schools for my future grandkids!! Wow - 60%-40% Damn near 18000 more YES than 'no' votes. Speaks Volumes! Attention, Dr. P: The people of Cherokee County have spoke loud & clear: YES to Charter Schools! Time to join the 21st century of accountability & competition in education, Dr. P. If you don't like that, you can just move - And take Chappie with ya!
Jim Beam November 07, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Results final: http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/GA/Cherokee/42306/108999/en/summary.html Not that it matters, but Obama clearly hasn't been good for Cherokee. 78-22? Those are landslide #s. If only more Cherokee county citizens were union members, Wall St Bankers, or on welfare, perhaps Obama would give a crap.
Frank Jones November 07, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Steely...I can't believe I got any form of apology from you for your false accusation. That's a first! Yes, HOST failed as Cherokee County residents evidently saw through the Board of Commissioner's misrepresentations. The Bobo affair may have had a lot to do with that. As to Amendment 1, I'm not surprised that Cherokee County and the rest of the state approved the amendment. For starters, the Amendment was written with great bias such that anyone who wasn't informed would blindly vote for it. Further, most people don't do the research that's necessary to make informed decisions. Lastly, the pro-Amendment people spouted lies and misrepresentations not stop such that anyone doing cursory research would receive mis-information. As to Obama, the people of Cherokee County and Georgia as a whole are blind to the facts. Obama isn't a socialist. He hasn't expanded social programs. He hasn't raised taxes. He hasn't been soft on foreign policy. He didn't cause the recession. He wasn't the cause of the polarization of our politics. What he has been is a Highly Educated Black Democrat...something that most Republicans fear.

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