Tuesday, August 20, 2013
County Auditor J.J. Messervy gave a presentation to the Town Council on the proposed Local Option Sales Tax, or One Cent Property Tax Relief, at its meeting Wednesday.
Revenues created from the 1 percent sales tax would be used as property tax relief. According to the presentation, 31 of 46 counties in South Carolina already have the tax.
Messervy explained that the law states at least 71 percent of the tax revenues must go back to residents as property tax roll back. Of the 71 percent, 67 percent would go to county taxpayers and 33 percent would go to municipal taxpayers.
Of the remaining 29 percent of revenue, half will be distributed based on the location of the sale and the other half will be distributed based on total population.
The county asked the South Carolina Budget and Control Board for an estimate regarding the revenues the tax would create. The tax would generate $8,986,025 for fiscal year 2014-2015, according to a letter from the board’s Chief Economist Frank Rainwater.
Dorchester County Council Chairman Bill Hearn made an appearance at the meeting and offered some reassurance for the Town Council and the public.
“This is a positive and not a negative. I know the word ‘tax’ makes people nervous, but both the town and the county will benefit from this,” he said. “We felt like this is a good time to do this, and it’s mutually beneficial to both the county and the municipalities.”
The tax will appear as a referendum on the ballot during the upcoming November elections. If passed, the tax would take effect May 1, 2014.