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KCC motion to increase school millage dies on table

Posted: October 1, 2010 11:12 a.m.
Updated: October 1, 2010 11:08 a.m.
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Former Kershaw County Council Chairman Steve S. Kelly Jr. (second from right) was honored during Tuesday’s county council meeting for his 33 years of service. Interim Council Chairman Max Ford (right) and Vice Chairman Sammie Tucker Jr. (second from left) present Kelly with a resolution as Councilman Stephen Smoak (left) watches.

Kershaw County Council didn’t budge Tuesday night, as it again failed to approve a relatively slight increase in millage for Kershaw County School District (KCSD) operations.

No one seconded a motion made by Vice Chairman Sammie Tucker Jr. to approve a 1.6-mill increase for the schools and it died on the table. The increase would have provided the KCSD with an estimated additional $170,000, which school district officials say is strictly in anticipation of an increase in students.

KCSD Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan said he was puzzled by Tuesday’s outcome since he believes this was the district’s smallest funding request increase in the last decade.

“You look at Richland County, and it seems their governing bodies pass the maximum allowed under ACT 388, and here, we ask for a small increase, and we can’t even get a vote,” Morgan said. “I just want to understand what the concerns are from council. If we understand the concerns, maybe we can talk about them.”

After failing to pass first reading of any millage ordinance earlier this month, county attorney Ken DuBose and county administrator Clay Young decided to split the school operations into its own ordinance. The remaining millage ordinance, which passed 5-2 Tuesday, with councilmen Jimmy Jones and C.R. Miles opposing, included no increase for the county operating and personnel budget, the county fire district or school bonds. There was a .8-mill increase for debt service and a 1.3-mill increase for the county sewer district.

The millage rate is the rate used in calculating taxes based upon the value of property, expressed in mills per dollar of property value.

If council does not pass a millage increase for the school district, the rate will be set as the same as last year, 153.8. State law allows for school districts to set its own millage, but any increase must be approved by county council, DuBose said.

Under Act 388 -- which was passed in 2006 and increased the state sales tax a penny to 6 cents on the dollar -- those owner-occupied homes assessed at 4 percent are exempt from paying millage for school operations. Secondary residences and businesses are not exempt.

In other business:

• Former Kershaw County Council Chairman Steve S. Kelly Jr. was honored with a resolution recognizing his three decades of service and presented a rocking chair with the Kershaw County seal. Kelly resigned as chairman earlier this year to accept a position as an appellate panelist on the state Department of Employment and Workforce.

• Council unanimously passed third reading of an ordinance allowing large employers looking to locate in the county to make installment payments for impact fees to the utilities department. Before passing third reading, the ordinance was amended to allow companies to pay 20 percent of the fee to be paid immediately rather than 25 percent and to pay off the remainder of the fee in 48 months instead of 36 months.

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