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Taxes increasing for LFD property owners

Posted: June 3, 2014 4:33 p.m.
Updated: June 4, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Property owners in the Lugoff Fire District (LFD) will see an increase in their taxes after Kershaw County Council unanimously approved the district’s proposed fiscal year 2015 budget at a special meeting Tuesday. The fiscal year begins July 1.

Lugoff Fire-Rescue Chief Dennis Ray made a presentation to council at its regular May 27 meeting and said a 2-mil increase would provide the funds needed to hire another full-time firefighter who will also be qualified to serve as a fire marshal. That person will conduct inspections that will increase fire safety in that community, which in turn helps keep insurance premiums low, Ray said at the time.

Ray said May 27 that the 2-mil tax increase means the owner of a $200,000 home will see a $16 jump in property taxes, but added that the level of fire service in the district should translate to hundreds of dollars in savings on homeowners and business insurance. The Insurance Services Office (ISO) sets ratings for communities based on the level of fire protection in the area. The Lugoff district currently has an ISO rating of 5. A lower rating likely would result in lower insurance premiums, while a higher rating would cost residents and business owners more.

Ray said his goal is to improve the district’s rating from 5 to 4 and having an additional fireman/fire marshal could help accomplish that.

The LFD is a special purpose taxing district overseen by a board of directors who had already approved the new budget, but council must give final approval. Council’s next regular meeting will take place June 17 from its regular June 10 date due to the Republican and Democratic primaries. Council called Tuesday’s special meeting so Ray could start the candidate search and hiring process for the new fireman as soon as possible.

Also during the special meeting, council approved a resolution forming a corporation to oversee funds from an up to $8.5 installment purchase agreement. Council passed third and final reading of an ordinance authorize that agreement at the May 27 meeting. The funds would be used for upgrades to the county’s detention center, recreation facilities and Central Carolina Technical College.

County Administrator Vic Carpenter said state law requires the formation of a corporation to manage the funds. He said council has yet to appoint anyone to the corporation board, but expects council to nominate individuals at the June 17 meeting.

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