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HOST Forum Set For Tuesday

Voters on Nov. 6 will consider imposing the sales tax, which would be used to reduce property taxes.

The first of two forums on a proposed new sales tax will be held next week.

Snapshot: Homestead Option Sales Tax (HOST), sponsored by Cherokee Bank and the will give Cherokee County residents an opportunity to learn about the proposal and to provide feedback to county leaders.

The forum will be held at 8 a.m. Tuesday at the Northside Hospital-Cherokee Conference Center, located at 1130 Bluffs Parkway in Canton.

The measure will be on the Nov. 6 general election ballot and, if approved, would impose a one percent sales tax. The revenue would be used to rollback the county’s M&O property taxes. It does not apply to the school or fire district taxes imposed by the county. 

Two questions will be 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 on Tuesday 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.

County Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens said he's reached out to all the county's mayors and has requested to speak about the proposal at upcoming city council meetings.

While these forums will be the first of two formal events designated to discuss the proposed tax, Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) spoke about the proposal to the Cherokee Tea Party Patriots during their Sept. 9 meeting.

Rogers during the 2012 legislative session introduced and sponsored a bill that enabled the county to put the measure on the ballot. 

County Commissioner Harry Johnston also attended the meeting and fielded questions from the audience. Johnston noted the reception from the crowd was “less than completely warm and enthusiastic," but noted he believed more people in the crowd favored the proposal than those who didn't. 

The next forum will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 4 at the Chambers at City Center 8534 Main Street in downtown Woodstock. 

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