Dorchester County taxes increase to fund schools and firefighters

Dorchester County taxes increase to fund schools and firefighters

DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - People who live in Dorchester County will see an increase in taxes this fall.

One tax hike is to help fund the school district and another is to hire new firefighters.

Dorchester School District Two estimated that it would be about $8 million dollars short going into next school year for the budget it created.

That's why Dorchester County Council approved a tax hike that will impact rental properties and businesses taxed at 6 percent.

“It’s huge. Our teachers in our schools need the best of the best,” said Troy Driscoll who has a daughter that attends school in the district. “What they have now is good to better them. That means everything to them and the students.”

With the tax hike, properties valued at $200,000 would pay an extra $93.60 a year.

County officials say this tax hike will generate about $2.1 million for Dorchester District Two Schools.

State law prohibits owner-occupied homes from paying for operations of schools.

“I do know it’s one of the best in the state, but having the lack of funding is also a concern because you want them to have the best of the best,” Driscoll said.

County officials also say their revenue projection increased which will add another nearly $1.5 million dollars to the budget that isn't coming from an increase in taxes.

The district says it needs the money for teacher raises, other employee raises, hiring more teachers, expansion of mental health programs and more. The district is also looking to add a school resource officer at Givhans Alternative School.

Not everyone is one board with the tax hikes.

The school board will meet on Monday to give final budget approval.

Funding for firefighters

Dorchester County officials say they are also increasing property tax revenue by nearly $700,000 to fund nine new full-time Dorchester County Fire Rescue positions.

This will impact all taxpayers in the county.

That means a property valued at $200,000 taxed at 4 percent would see an annual increase of about $19.20.

The new positions will staff fire stations in Harleyville, Ridgeville and Saint George.

County officials say this is to keep crews from the eastern portion of the county from having to support responses in the those other areas as frequently.

It will help keep those crews more available at their assigned stations.

People will see the changes in taxes on their next tax bill that will go out in the fall.

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