GASTONIA, N.C. — The Gaston County Board of Commissioners approved a two-cent decrease to the property tax rate in a 5 to 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 median tax bill lower than in Mecklenburg, Union and Cabarrus Counties.
Residents are seeing 8.5 percent inflation that affects everything from groceries to gas, and those same pressures are affecting county government.
Yet, officials say Gaston County is absorbing the cost of inflation, while providing a tax cut to residents.
“We wanted to strike an appropriate balance between providing financial relief to residents and ensuring we are properly funding the services our county government provides that so many of our residents depend upon,” Board of Commissioners Chairman Chad Brown (R-Riverbend Township) said.
For the second year in a row, officials say the budget was balanced without the use of fund balance (aka essentially a county’s savings account).
“This was not an easy process, given the continually increasing needs for service in our county and the pressures of rising inflation,” County Manager Dr. Kim Eagle said. “Our employees are ready to do even more to respond to the growth ahead, as Gaston County continues to grow in stature as one of our state’s premier locations to live and work.”
Officials say the only new positions in the budget are those entirely supported by fees.
However, the commissioners approved a 6 percent merit pool for employees to help offset some of the inflationary pressure being felt by county employees, who provide critical services to Gaston County’s most vulnerable.
The budget also provides for partial spending on the first year of a 5-year Capital Improvement Plan, according to a news release.
Officials say the CIP was put together to identify and prioritize the top capital needs of the county.
Projects included as part of that plan include the construction of a public safety fueling facility and expansion work on the county’s new fleet maintenance facility along Long Avenue in Gastonia.
That also includes increased funding for Gaston College and Gaston Public Schools for capital needs as well as operating expense increases.