The forum on the proposed 1 percent sales tax to be used to roll back property taxes is slated for 6 p.m. at the Chambers at City Center in Woodstock.
“The HOST Referendum is difficult to understand for the average voter. There is no better experience than to hear an informative presentation and have an opportunity to ask questions,” said Dennis Burnette, Cherokee Bank president, who along with the Cherokee Tribune is sponsoring the forum.
County Commission Chair Buzz Ahrens will lead the panel discussion and Clint Mueller, legislative director of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, will be on hand to answer questions about the issue.
Ahrens made a presentation on the tax at the first forum on Tuesday and the two fielded questions from an audience of about 45 interested residents and community leaders.
The law governing the tax allows a minimum of 80 percent of HOST revenue to be used for exemptions on homeowner property tax bills and 20 percent toward capital improvements.
However, Cherokee commissioners decided on Sept. 18 to use 100 percent of revenue for property tax relief because SPLOST is already in place for capital expenditures.
The proposed sales tax will be on the Nov. 6 general election ballot for local voters to consider. Voters will be asked two questions: If HOST should be approved and if 100 percent of revenue should be used to reduce homeowner property taxes.
In order for HOST to pass, both questions must be answered in the affirmative, said Ahrens.
Presently, property owners pay property taxes and not those residents who rent, Ahrens said in his presentation Tuesday.
He said HOST would be a benefit to Cherokee because everyone who makes a purchase in the county would be contributing to the cost of county operations. He said the tax is revenue neutral in that the county is currently collecting a total of $35 million annually from property taxes. But under HOST, he said an estimated $30 million in revenue would come from sale taxes while just $5 million from property taxes.
The forum Thursday is free and open to the public. Cookies and bottled water will be available for guests during the presentation.
Those who plan to attend are asked to contact Lisa Kendrick for reservations at (770) 384-8661 or firstname.lastname@example.org.