Dorchester County discusses tax increase

Dorchester County discusses tax increase

DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Taxes in Dorchester County could be going up for the first time in more than 10 years.

County council members say state leaders have given them less and less money every year from the local government fund.

"We're going to be short $2 million this year from last year," Larry Hargett, a Dorchester County Councilman said.

While the money from the state has been shrinking, the county's needs have been growing.

Right now the county has 7 ambulance crews working 24-hour shifts and sharing 52 calls a day.

"At 24 hours, it's stated in this research that your mentally ability is kind of equal to a blood alcohol of 0.1," Maj. Wendy Lee, the county's EMS deputy director said. "That's like driving under influence."

Public safety is the county's big need. EMS is asking the county for money to hire more people so they can move to 12-hour shifts.

The sheriff's office says it needs money to hire people for its new jail because the one in St. George is at double its capacity.

"We don't have any choice," Hargett said. "It's part of public safety. You either lock those people up and keep them off the street or they're out on the street committing crime."

The county is looking at a five and half mill increase to its millage rate which council members say is roughly $33 a year for a $150,000 home.

"I hope the good voters will not point their figures at council. They should be pointing them right to their elected representatives. House and senate members."

Lee says safety sometimes comes at a cost.

"You may not think about it now, but as soon as someone has a heart attack or there's a car accident, it's call EMS and get some help here."

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