The title ad valorem tax went into effect March 1 and does away with old method of charging the ad valorem tax on drivers’ birthdays for anyone who purchased a car on or after March 1.
Now, those car owners will be charged an annual “tag fee” — $20 for a standard tag — and a one-time 6.5 percent fee, based of their vehicle’s value (market value or sale value, whichever is higher.).
Cherokee County Tax Commissioner Sonya Little said the one-time fees can be steep. One recent customer had a bill of $1,200, she said.
These changes apply to both dealer and private sales.
It’s the private sales, Little said, that are causing problems in her office.
Little spends most days working in the county’s tag office on Marietta Road in Canton.
Last month, she said she and her employees were bracing themselves for the change, learning the new regulations and preparing for changes in their computer systems.
They also worked with the Cherokee County Marshal’s Office to have a marshal posted at each of Cherokee County’s two tag offices at all times, from March 1 forward.
Little said the marshal was for added security in the office to help with the customers she feared would become upset when they learned of the costs they’d have to pay.
For the most part, Little and Chief Deputy Tax Commissioner Dana McKinzie said Thursday, the marshal hasn’t been too busy and has only had to deal with a few incidents.
The most severe instance when the marshal had to step in, Little and McKinzie remembered, was on Monday when a customer became upset in the office and had to be removed from the building as he screamed and cursed at employees.
The marshal and McKinzie tried to give the man phone numbers for county government officials. He didn’t take them.
“He just wanted to scream at us,” McKenzie said.
Employees in the Canton tag office haven’t had a much better time dealing with the changes.
Little said they’ve taken a beating.
Finally, though, Little said, things have started to calm down a bit.
She said it might just be the “calm before the storm,” but, on Wednesday and Thursday, the office seemed closer to normal.
“I feel like we’ve had two days to decompress,” she said. “Last week and the week before were a blur.”