Wednesday, Sept. 03, 2014
AIKEN COUNTY, SC (WRDW) -- Aiken County leaders are keeping property taxes exactly the same for next year, but some think that may not be the best course of action.
On Tuesday, Aiken County Council voted to make the millage rate for the 2014-2015 fiscal year 69.9, which is the same rate as the previous fiscal year. This means residents will not have to pay anymore in property taxes for the foreseeable future. But some think they should have gone a different route.
“I think that the county has focused too much on making Aiken a retirement community,” said property owner John Heaton.
Since 2007 someone who owns a $100,000 home pays around $690 a year in property taxes; one of the lowest rates in the state. That means the county has been bringing in around the same amount of money during that time frame. While the tax hasn’t gone up, things like cost of living and inflation have so, your tax dollar isn’t going so far leaving the county out on $4 million.
A letter sent from Aiken county administrator Clay Killian to county council in June warns that if county council does not raise the millage rate some time soon, then “major cuts to programs and services are not inconceivable.”
In June, Aiken County Sheriff Michael Hunt requested a millage rate hike so that he could pay his employees more and bump up their salaries to “a more competitive level.”
That measure was not passed by county council. However, county council did vote to dip into the savings banks in order to give all county employees at least a $1,000 raise.