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KCC to consider millage ordinance

Posted: August 24, 2012 6:54 p.m.
Updated: August 27, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Kershaw County Council is set to take up first reading in title only of an ordinance setting the millage rate during its meeting Tuesday. County Administrator Vic Carpenter said first reading of the ordinance will help initiate preliminary work needed to get county tax notices out by Oct. 1.

“In order to get those out, we have to go ahead and get the millage set by September, so we have to start that now in August,” Carpenter said.

He noted that Kershaw County Auditor Robin Watkins is still compiling tax data so she will not be ready Tuesday to supply council with information regarding an increase or decrease in millage.

“Second to third reading is when she’ll really have a sense for where we’re going with it,” Carpenter explained.

The millage rate is used to calculate county taxes based upon property values. 

Aug. 14, Kershaw County School Board of Trustees Chair Mara Jones asked council to consider a 4.7 mil increase in order to generate approximately $500,000 for the county’s school district. The proposal was made to recoup funds lost via a “last minute cut” in state revenue according to Jones. The school district cannot independently vote to levy a millage increase, so any proposal must be brought before county council.

Last year, the county’s millage rate experienced a slight “rollback,” falling from 65.4 mils in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010-2011 to 64.6 mils in FY 2011-2012.

A “rollback” refers to lowering the previous year’s millage rate in order to prevent the county from getting more money than it was budgeted. This prevented the county from generating a revenue “windfall,” which would be in violation of state law.

Council will also discuss a fee-in-lieu of taxes (FILOT) agreement with Diversified Information Technologies (DIT), which operates a secured document storage facility in Lugoff.

DIT, based in Scranton, Pa., announced in February that it was expanding its business into Kershaw County as well as establishing locations in Hartford, Conn.; Minneapolis, Minn.; and Portland, Ore.

Earlier this year, the company moved into the former SPX Filtran building, an 89,000 square-foot facility located across from Heritage Industrial Park.   

The FILOT agreement calls for an 8 percent assessment ratio during a period of 10 years. The ratio would drop to 6 percent based upon an investment of at least $10 million. Currently, the company is expected to make an investment of approximately $5.8 million during its first five years as well as create at least 20 full-time jobs.

Recommendations from council’s Tourism Advisory (ATAX) Committee will be Tuesday’s agenda.

The committee’s recommendations will deal with the allocation of funds generated by accommodation taxes in Kershaw County. Carpenter said the committee is composed of representatives from hotels and businesses in the community and that they will “suggest where they think the money should go for the county’s budget.” County Tourism Director Darron Kirkley is expected to provide information about the recommendations to council.

Tuesday’s meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Kershaw County Government Center on Walnut Street in Camden and is open to the public.

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