Gaston Co. Board of Commissioners Approves Property Tax Reduction

GASTONIA, NC — The Gaston County Board of Commissioners approved a two-cent decrease in the property tax rate in a 5-2 vote on Tuesday.

Officials say the approved budget lowers the property tax rate level to 81 cents per $100 of assessed value, the lowest rate Gaston County has seen since 1996.

Officials say Gaston County already has a lower median tax bill than Mecklenburg, Union and Cabarrus counties.

Residents are seeing 8.5% inflation affecting everything from groceries to gasoline, and those same pressures are affecting county government.

Still, officials say Gaston County is absorbing the cost of inflation, while providing a tax cut for residents.

“We wanted to strike an appropriate balance between providing financial assistance to residents and ensuring that we are properly funding the services provided by our county government that so many of our residents depend on,” said Board of Commissioners Chairman Chad Brown ( township of R-Riverbend).

For the second year in a row, officials say the budget was balanced without using the fund balance (essentially a county’s savings account).

“It was not an easy process, given the ever-increasing needs for services in our county and the pressures of rising inflation,” said County Executive Dr. Kim Eagle. “Our employees are ready to do even more to accommodate the growth ahead, as Gaston County continues to grow as one of our state’s premier places to live and work.”

Officials say the only new items in the budget are those funded entirely by fees.

However, commissioners approved a 6% merit pool for employees to offset some of the inflationary pressure felt by county employees, who provide essential services to Gaston County’s most vulnerable.

The budget also includes partial spending for the first year of a five-year capital improvement plan, according to a news release.

Officials say the CIP was set up to identify and prioritize the county’s major capital needs.

Projects included under this plan include construction of a public safety fueling facility and expansion work for the county’s new fleet maintenance facility along Long Avenue in Gastonia.

This also includes increased funding for Gaston College and Gaston Public Schools for capital requirements as well as increased operating expenses.

Penny D. Jackson