Dorchester Co. Council discuss impact of lower property tax, higher sales tax

DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Lower property taxes in exchange for a higher sales tax of one percent are what Dorchester County residents will vote on come November 5th.

Monday evening the Dorchester County Council weighed the benefits and downfalls of the tax referendum.

Council chairman William Hearn said, "Our property tax is higher than Berkeley and from a competitive stand point I think that hurts us."

As the council deliberated back and forth, Councilman Larry Hargett said a one percent increase of the sales tax would not benefit his district.

"4 out of 10 citizens who live in my district are renters. They get nothing out of this except a one percent higher sales tax," said Hargett.

Despite that disagreement, most of the council showed very little opposition to the tax referendum saying the effects will be seen as more people shop in the county.

Councilman Jay Byars said, "Therefore people who live in Berkeley County, Charleston County, Colleton County, where ever they buy something, it helps us to lower our property taxes, helps us get a little more competitive with businesses. This is what other counties have been doing."

The Chairman Hearn stood by his view that a lower property tax will be more appealing to businesses.

"This is an opportunity. A lot of folks that are involved in economic development see this as an economic development tool. It has a long term effect, not just property tax reduction," said Hearn.

Dorchester County will spend more than $33,000 to open 72 precincts for the vote on November 5th.

The ballot will also include council spots for the town of Harleyville and Summerville District 3.

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