Assessment notices mailed this week will reflect a rise in property values (copy) (copy)

Charleston County residents wait to pay their taxes. The county now allows home and business owners to opt for a six-month payment plan. The deadline to apply is Jan. 15. File

Did you miss this past Monday's 2019 property tax installment workshop? 

Have no fear. Charleston County Treasurer Mary Tinkler will meet again with residents on Monday, Jan. 14, in North Charleston. 

In a new program, qualified taxpayers may make six payments over the course of the year instead of paying their bill in one lump sum.

Tinkler will meet with the public to answer questions and assist in the filing of applications at 6 p.m. on Monday at Charleston County Council Chambers, at 4045 Bridge View Dr. in North Charleston.

The deadline to apply for the program is Jan. 15. Residents who are able to access the application form may submit it electronically via e-mail or fax. They can also hand-deliver it or postmark it by Jan. 15.  

To qualify for the program, 2018 property tax bills must be completely paid off, Tinkler said. As of this week, more than 400 people have signed up for the program. 

“This is something a lot of people have been asking for,” Tinkler said. “I’m excited for what it could mean for the taxpayers who need it most.”

Dorchester, Horry, Beaufort, Richland and York counties operate similar programs, she said.

John Wright, who is the president of the African American Settlement Community Historic Commission, helped Tinkler organize Monday’s informational event and a similar event earlier this week in Mount Pleasant.

He called the plan a retention tool for the Charleston area’s longtime residents who struggle to pay their property taxes.

While the program would benefit homeowners of all backgrounds, Wright said it could be extraordinarily helpful to longtime residents of the area’s African-American settlement communities.

For example, Scanlonville is a neighborhood in Mount Pleasant and one of several settlement communities founded by African-Americans following the Civil War.

Residents there have lost their homes, Wright said, because they are unable to pay their property tax bills. The bills have skyrocketed in recent years as land values in desirable Mount Pleasant have boomed.

The tax installment plan will help anyone — black or white — who is unable to afford a giant bill, Wright said. 

The two tax workshops include information about other relevant property issues. Heirs' properties and landlocked properties were discussed at Mount Pleasant Town Hall on Monday.

Many African Americans are owners of heirs’ property — land that’s been handed down through a family without a will. As The Post and Courier detailed in a special report, the legally fuzzy ownership of heirs’ property puts owners at financial risk of court-ordered auctions and excludes them from some government programs that other property owners can access.

Reach Hannah Alani at 843-937-5428. Follow her on Twitter @HannahAlani.

Hannah Alani is a reporter at The Post and Courier covering race, immigration and rural life across the Palmetto State. Before graduating from Indiana University and moving to Charleston in 2017, her byline appeared in The New York Times.