Dorchester County issues $3 million in refunds to residents

DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Dorchester County is issuing refunds of a Transportation Impact Fee several residents have been paying since 2011.

"This is a letter I got back from the county saying I was due a $1,109 refund for some unused tax related to transportation," Dorchester County resident Jeffery Thomas said. "So, much to my delight, I was very surprised."

According to Dorchester County Council Chairman Jay Byars, the fee was intended to raise money that would be used on projects improving transportation in Dorchester County.

The county has collected $3 million since the fee was implemented in 2011.

Thomas received his refund in September, but several people are receiving refunds now.

MOREClick here to see if you will receive money through the Dorchester County website.

"I called to make sure that, you know, this was something, that it wasn't a scam or anything like that."

Byars explained the $3 million dollars the county raised was not enough to invest in any project that would make significant improvements. Because the county didn't use the money within three years, County Council decided to reimburse residents.

"We tried to find projects that made sense, and just nothing would make sense in the time that we could do it," Byars said. "We weren't raising enough money."

The county was also threatened with litigation. County council decided to issue refunds ahead of the lawsuit so they could avoid litigation.

"It was better for us to say, 'Hey, let's do something different. Give the money to the taxpayers, and let's make sure that we're not penalizing businesses."

Thomas said he wished the money could have been used to fund projects it was intended for. But, ultimately, he's excited that the unused money was refunded to residents.

"It was a pleasant surprise," Thomas said. "Anyone sends you an 11-hundred-dollar check, you really enjoy getting that money back, absolutely."

Byars said Dorchester County has passed a new Transportation Impact Fee, which will be paid by developers, rather than residents.

Any Dorchester County residents who live in a home built after 2011 have most likely paid the fee. If you paid this fee between September and last month, you would receive your reimbursement now.

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