Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor told Adairsville business leaders Thursday there will be no tax rate increase from the Bartow County government this fall.

He said he couldn’t speak to the needs of the school system but said the anticipated 6 to 8% growth of Bartow’s tax digest should provide sufficient funding to run government operations without a tax hike.

Taylor spoke at the Adairsville Council of the Cartersville-Bartow Chamber of Commerce Eggs and Issues breakfast Thursday.

The sole commissioner said the tax digest grew by 8% last year. Taylor said the tax levy that supports government operations in Bartow County was lower than any of its contiguous counties.

The millage rate for unincorporated Bartow County for government operations was 9.01 last year, according to the Georgia Department of Revenue. Floyd County was 9.48 and Gordon County was 9.63, however Cherokee County was 5.36 and Cobb was 8.46.

“A lot of times we’re just geared to complain about taxes when the tax bill comes out but just compare it to some of the other jurisdictions around us and you’ll find you might be getting a pretty good bargain. Other companies are sharing the burden as far as taxes go,” Taylor said.

“When we recruit for jobs we’re looking for jobs that pay good wages,” Taylor told business leaders. He said the goal is to raise per capita income for residents of Bartow County and said he has seen that grow by almost $7,000 since 2013.

“Vibrancy in the community can’t happen without disposable income,” Taylor said. “That’s what we’re looking for.”

He also said the Rome-Cartersville Development Corridor highway project will happen, but jokingly said he wasn’t sure if it was going to happen in his lifetime.

“I’m afraid to put a date on anything,” Taylor said. “It will happen. The politics are right and Bartow and Floyd County are both on the same page. We’re both working hard to make sure this thing happens.”

Taylor brought several department heads with him to the meeting and Sheriff Clark Millsap raised more than a few eyebrows when he told the audience, “please folks, we have to arm ourselves.”

The Bartow sheriff said they’re offering a free firearms class which will begin on June 22.

“If you don’t have a gun you can come shoot ours,” Millsap said. “Entering autos is our biggest thing right now. Please lock your cars and if you don’t lock your cars don’t leave anything valuable in it. ... They’re pulling door handles, walking through neighborhoods and if it is open to get in they’ll get in.

“If they see something they want they’ll bust the window out.”

Chief Magistrate Judge Brandon Bryson echoed Millsap’s concern about crime, pointing out that his office had already signed more than 4,000 warrants.

“Be aware of your surroundings,” Bryson said.

Millsap also urged the business leaders to get security cameras for their homes and businesses because they are a tremendous tool for law enforcement in catching thieves.