BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Property owners in Berkeley County could be a step closer to paying higher property taxes, if the school board approves a referendum to be on this November's ballot. The district says new schools and renovations at existing schools are needed, and it will cost millions of dollars.
"Berkeley County is bursting at the seams. We are so excited to have so many new families coming to join us. Our chamber of commerce in this area as well as our business community have been attracting and relocating families here," BCSD Director of Communications Amy Kovach said.
The school district is proposing a county-wide tax increase for property owners to pay for the schools.
If board members approve a referendum to be on the ballot, the school district says it would need voters support before they move forward with plans for the new schools.
The district's plan is to raise up to $198 million dollars over the next 20-30 years. For someone who owns a $100,000 home, the increase is an extra $40 a year on their tax bill.
The district says the money would pay for two new schools off Clements Ferry Road, a school off Sheep Island Road, one in Tanner Plantation, and one in Foxbank Plantation.
Property owners we spoke to have different opinions on the proposed tax hike.
"Our property taxes are I think high enough. I think that a lot of people move here to South Carolina to get away from the taxes," property owner Debbie Schneider said.
"If I have to pay a slight amount more in my taxes I believe that is absolutely necessary. A community raises a whole family," property owner Sebastian said.
In addition to five new schools, the $198 million will also pay for renovations big and small, at 27 schools county-wide.