Gaston County Approves 2.5% Property Tax Rate Cut in New Budget – WSOC TV

GASTON COUNTY, NC – Homeowners in Gaston County will pay less property taxes, thanks to the county’s newly approved budget.

In a 5-2 vote, county commissioners approved the budget on Tuesday evening. A 2.5% reduction in the property tax rate has been included.

The new property tax rate is 81 cents per $100 of property assessment. Gaston County officials said that rate is now the lowest in the county since 1996.

“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, in a press release.

For the second year in a row, the budget was balanced without the use of the fund balance, according to Gaston County officials.

“The fund balance is essentially a county’s savings account, and having a healthy balance is critical to being prepared to endure an economic crisis like a recession, or take advantage of economic opportunities to create jobs in the county, like with the county’s investment in the Apple Creek Corporate Center,” the county said in a news release. “Improving and preserving the county’s fund balance was key to helping the county recently receive a bond upgrade rating from Moody’s Investors Service.”

The only new budgeted positions are those funded entirely by membership fees. However, commissioners approved a 6% merit pool for county employees to help offset some of the pressure from inflation. The merit pay plan, which was implemented two years prior, has already paid off – the county has seen a decrease in its turnover rate over the past year.

The budget also allows partial spending for the first year of a five-year capital improvement plan, which was created to identify and prioritize Gaston County’s major capital needs. Projects included under this plan include the construction of a public safety refueling facility and the expansion of the county’s new fleet maintenance facility along Long Avenue in Gastonia.

The CIP also includes increased funding for Gaston College and Gaston Public Schools for capital requirements as well as increases in operating expenses.

(WATCH BELOW: Action Update 9: When will I get my North Carolina tax refund?)

Penny D. Jackson