New commissioners sworn in, plan to jump start on Tuesday

by: Catherine Bilkey Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Voters had their say and the three newest members of Mecklenburg County's Board of Commissioners were sworn in Monday. One of them is the new chair of the board.

"I'm honored and very excited about it," Chairwoman Pat Cotham said. "We have a great board, and we're all very excited about getting things done."

Newly elected commissioners Cotham, Kim Ratliff and Trevor Fuller were officially sworn in in a ceremony. And keeping with tradition, the commissioner who received the most votes, Cotham, was chosen to be chairwoman of the commission.

Eyewitness News asked Cotham if the board is ready for hard issues given how many new members there are.

"Well,  the voters said they were," Cotham said. "So they are."

The commission is now preparing to handle its biggest controversy: the 2011 Property Tax Revaluation. An audit found the county over-valued homes and charged homeowners too much in taxes. Homeowners have been fighting to get their money back.

New graf-->Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour, who was sworn in two weeks ago, wants to give it to them.

"Ever since we were kids growing up we learned: if you take something that doesn't belong to you, you have to return it," Ridenhour said.

It would take an action by state lawmakers to hand out refunds. Some commissioners say they need to make sure the system is fixed for next time.

"The thing about giving money back is it has to come from the General Assembly," Ratliff said. "The laws have to be changed, and I think I heard yesterday or today that that's not going to happen. So now we have to go back to the drawing board. "