ST. GEORGE — Dorchester County Council appears determined to hold the line on tax and fees in next year’s budget, but residents will still pay more.
The tax bill will climb because of bonds to pay for a new jail, expected to add $12 to taxes for the owner of a $150,000 home, and to build four new Dorchester District 2 schools and renovate 10 others. Those $180 million bonds were passed by voters last year. The bonds could raise taxes on a $150,000 house by about $102 annually. But the district hadn’t decided by late last week whether to put out those bonds all at once or in stages, said James “JJ” Messervy, county auditor.
District officials last week asked council to raise personal property taxes to make up for a district budget shortfall, but county officials say that’s not likely to be approved.
Dorchester Sheriff L.C. Knight has asked for incentives and promotion salary upgrades to help retain deputies being lost to other law enforcement opportunities. But that money will be taken existing funds, said Council Chairman Bill Hearn.
Trying to save money on law enforcement personnel is a false economy, Hearn said, because of the cost of training people to replace positions lost.
“We have to help (Knight) keep his folks,” Hearn said.
The $43.1 million operating budget represents an increase from the current year’s $41.7 million budget, but the difference is paid for with improved revenue in the improving economy.
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