Chattooga County Commissioner Jason Winters will be raising taxes once again. This will mark the second tax increase during Winters’s third term in office. Before the commissioner can raise taxes, the law requires three public hearings must be held.
The rules for the required meetings only state that an opportunity must be given for the public to express their opinions about the proposed tax increase. That doesn’t mean that the commissioner must engage with the public during those meetings. That doesn’t mean you will be able to have a dialogue with the county’s sole commissioner at those meetings. In 2017, a year after an election in which the commissioner claimed taxes would go up if he wasn’t elected, the commissioner held three public meetings which were well attended, but he refused to answer any questions or make any comments during those meetings.
The last tax increase was one of the biggest tax increases in Chattooga County history. The 2017 tax hike was an over 25% increase and was to bring in an additional $1.3 million to the county’s coffers. At the time, Winters promised several improvements that the 2017 tax increase would pay for, including a traffic light at Mountain View and another one at the intersection in Gore.
In the mean time, the county continues to borrow large sums of money each year in order to make ends meet. Chattooga County tax payers are currently paying over $160,000 per year in interest on the money that the commissioner borrows to keep the county solvent.
The commissioner’s tax increase meetings will be held this Friday, August 16th at 11 AM and again at 6 PM. The final meeting will be held on Friday, August 23 at 10 AM. All of the meetings will be held at the Chattooga County Civic Center on Highway 48 in Summerville.