Shining the Light on Dorchester County Council

  • Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Dorchester County citizen recently penned a letter, “Sad Sprawl”.  The letter is full of misstatements and erroneous assumptions that need to be addressed.
First, the writer states that Dorchester County was once a lovely, low-tax place in which to live.   I have resided in Dorchester County for 31 years and believe it remains a lovely, low-tax place to live.   The Dorchester County government has consistently balanced the County budget for the past 10 years without a single millage increase except for a much needed Fire Department fire apparatus purchase five years ago that now affords much lower fire insurance rates for citizens.  The vast majority of homeowners have not had an increase in their property taxes due to the County operating budget during the past ten years.  The writer inherited his present home property in 2010, which had not had a property tax increase of more than 2% during the past 10 year period, while his new property taxes did increase beginning in 2011 due to his parents having had a homestead exemption for which he does not now qualify.  
Second, the writer asserts that ‘the self-proclaimed conservative Republicans took over County Council’.  I remind him that the good citizens of Dorchester County go to the polls every two years to elect County Council Representatives and that the Council is not somehow self-proclaimed or self-appointed.  The County debt which the writer states is close to ‘a billion dollars’ is actually $175,664,000 million dollars including all General Obligation Bonds, water and sewer bonds plus conservation and recreation bonds. The majority of the General Obligation Bond debt was approved by voter referendums and does not count against the County’s constitutional debt limit including the current Transportation Sales Tax funding for 22 road projects in Dorchester County that voters approved in 2004.   Additionally, County Council has recently approved re-financing the General Obligation Debt resulting in millions of dollars of savings in interest costs during the term of the Bonds. 
Third, the writer obviously believes that Dorchester County somehow is being ‘taken to the cleaners’ by our good Corporations and Industrial partners in the County, but this is certainly not the case.  Each year, Mead-Westvaco, Bosch, Showa Denko, Greenwood Development and Bridlewood Farms LLC, are a few of the Corporate and Business Firms that contribute property assets and resources to Dorchester County.  
Lastly, according to the 2012 US Census Bureau, the correct population for Dorchester County is 142,496, not 101,000 as stated by the writer. 
 
Larry Hargett
Dorchester County Council
Fairington Drive,
Summerville
 

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