The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners has voted to pay $2.18 million to retire a handful of bonds early.

The board voted unanimously Tuesday to direct Jimmy Marquis, the county’s chief financial officer, to make an accelerated payment of $2.18 million. This payment would allow for the county to pay off a series of bonds issued in 2007, which had a maturity date of 2029. By making this payment, Marquis said the county would save around $406,000 in interest payments.

In a presentation on the county’s proposed $336 million budget for 2022, Marquis said the budget creates 29 new full-time positions set to start Oct. 1, along with an additional 12 firefighter positions scheduled to start April 1. In addition to the new employees, other major expenses include $2.9 million in a cost of living adjustment for county employees, $1.4 million for the new non-firefighter positions and $713,000 in health care costs for county employees.

Revenue was anticipated to be around $14 million higher than it had been in fiscal year 2021. Although the property tax millage rates had remained the same at 5.212 mills, Marquis said that the county still has one of the lowest millage rates in the metro Atlanta region. The budget is tentatively scheduled to be voted on for approval at the Sept. 21 board meeting.

Also at the meeting, commissioners unanimously voted to deny a special use permit for a wedding and special event venue at 901 Sparks Lane off Yellow Creek Road near Ball Ground. The case had seen opposition from several residents at last month’s Cherokee County Planning Commission meeting. Planning commissioners had recommended denial.

At the same time, the board voted to approve rezoning 2.38 acres at 2006 Eagle Drive from neighborhood commercial to general commercial for the development of a Guthrie’s restaurant on site.

Commissioners also approved the rezoning of 2.4 acres at 187 White Road from agricultural to general commercial that would be used to install an entrance to a proposed gas station on the property directly to the north. And, the board approved a rezoning for 3.75 acres at 458 Douglas Ridge Lane for a communications tower. The land was previously residential with a minimum lot size of 40,000 square feet, and will now be zoned agricultural.

Commissioners agreed to accept a withdrawal of a request to modify zoning conditions on a parcel of land on Bishop Road. The site had been zoned to light industrial in 2007.

The board also agreed that they had no objection to a Canton annexation of about two acres at 1530 Elmwood Street, which Cherokee County School District officials are planning to combine with an adjacent 84 acres for a planned replacement Cherokee High School.

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