North Charleston’s nearly $100 million budget plan, which contains a small property tax increase, breezed through a first City Council vote Thursday.
Only Councilman Bobby Jameson voted against the spending plan, saying that he and his constituents object to the idea of raising nearly a half-million dollars in new property tax for a city budget that gives essentially the same amount of money to nonprofit groups.
“My constituents have told me to vote no,” said Jameson, who chaired the meeting of the Finance Committee.
He had raised the same objection at an earlier City Council workshop where the spending plan was introduced.
Mayor Keith Summey, who did not attend Thursday’s meeting, previously defended the contributions to nonprofit groups. The largest contribution, $150,000, goes to the Charleston Promise Neighborhood, which the city has pledged to support.
The proposed budget is for the 12 months starting July 1. The $99.9 million budget includes $4.9 million in new spending, including the hiring of a dozen more firefighters.
Most of the revenue for the increased spending reflects the city’s increasing tax base, and increasing collections of sales tax and business license fees due to the improving economy.
The proposed property tax increase would cost someone with a home worth $150,000 another $6 a year, bringing the city’s bill to $570.
Councilwoman Dorothy Williams was absent the committee meeting. Other than Jameson, the remaining council members voted without comment to recommend the budget for approval.
Next, the budget will move through a series of votes at upcoming City Council meetings. If approved, the tax increase would be reflected in bills that are mailed this fall.
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