GASTONIA, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – At its special meeting Tuesday night, the Gaston County Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted its budget for fiscal year 2024 that includes a tax rate that is the lowest since at least 1970. 

The new Gaston County property tax rate is 61 cents per $100 of assessed value, which is a 20-cent drop from the current rate. It is also lower than the revenue-neutral rate of 62.1 cents.  

County Manager Kim Eagle’s recommended budget included just four fully county-funded positions. The county will also be adding staff positions in its Department of Health and Human Services that are mostly federally funded, to handle the increased workload that will come with the expansion of Medicaid services in North Carolina. 

The property tax decrease somes in the same year as countywide revaluation. Since the last assessment in 2019, property values increased by an average of 41.8 percent. 

“Following a revaluation process that saw massive growth in the tax base, it was crucial the county remained a responsible steward of those resources, using them to further our mission of providing excellent public service every day,” Eagle said.  

In Gastonia, the proposed budget dropped 5 cents to 47 cents per $100 of valuation.

Board Chairman Chad Brown (R-Riverbend Township), said the board was laser-focused on protecting residents from pain on their property tax bills.  

“We’ve seen so many different challenges in the last 13 years I’ve been on this board,” Brown said. “We worked hard to make the citizens a priority. But we also understand there are many departments that need help to respond to growth.  

“This is the largest property tax cut in the history of Gaston County. Twenty cents off the tax rate will be a big impact on everybody.” 

Vice Chairman Bob Hovis (R-Crowders Mountain Township) said the budget process was thorough and resulted in a much better outcome for residents in 2023 than it did in 2019. 

“This has not been a rushed or hurried process,” Hovis said. “This is much more like what I would have liked to have seen when we did the revaluation in 2019. That year, our tax decrease wasn’t large enough. I am very proud to vote for this budget and this decrease.” 

The FY24 budget includes putting money toward needed large-scale projects, including the design stages of an overhaul of the county’s main public health facility and design for a new public safety campus. Other significant projects include upgrades to softball and baseball fields and other facilities at:  

  • Dallas Park; 
  • New Catawba Cove County park and trail system 
  • Funding to help complete expansion of the county’s fleet maintenance facility 
  • Bridge improvements for the Interstate 85 and U.S. 74 bridge replacement projects.  

The full budget is available online for review at Residents’ property tax bills will be mailed in mid-July after the total property tax rate is finalized. Residents either pay a municipal rate or a volunteer fire district rate in addition to the county property tax rate.  

The presentation of the unified volunteer fire district budget and tax rate is set for the Board of Commissioners’ next meeting, on Thursday, May 25, at 6 p.m. in the Harley B. Gaston Public Forum.