Public hearing on tax increase on city agenda
Charleston City Council will hold a public hearing today ahead of its final consideration of Mayor Joe Riley’s emergency tax hike for public safety.
Riley is requesting the tax increase to pay for 19 new police officers to patrol elementary schools in the city, and to help build and operate two new fire stations.
If enacted, property taxes on a house valued at $250,000 would go up $35 per year.
The hearing will be part of council’s regular meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. in Council Chambers at 80 Broad St.
There is no pre-registration for anyone wishing to address council.
First reading of the tax-increase package narrowly passed two weeks ago on what was recorded as an 8-5 vote. Since then, some groups and residents have come out in opposition.
The Charleston County Republican Party, for instance, said the city should look at trimming budgets and expenditures before resorting to new taxes.
If approved, city taxes will go up for the year by $3.48 million.
Riley’s proposal is in partial response to last year’s school shooting in Connecticut. Also, two new fire stations are needed, the administration said, in West Ashley and on Daniel Island.