James Islanders now have a sense of how early colonists felt when they had outrageous taxes imposed on them without any say in the matter. At a recent James Island PSD meeting, several dozen residents attended to voice their concerns over a proposed 13 percent tax hike for the coming year, effective July 1, 2018.
The tax is to cover the cost of a new fire station, salary increases for employees and increased costs for solid waste services. While no one objected to the reasons for the increase, the amount is staggering.
The questions raised by the residents included why the budget planning process of previous years had not taken into account a reserve for such future needs. Had the commissioners investigated other funding sources to cover part of the cost of a new fire station?
Why is the JIPSD refusing to accept a transfer of funds from the town of James Island as offered by Mayor Bill Woolsey? This may not cover all of the budgetary needs but would decrease the amount of the tax increase.
The JIPSD Commission did not announce the proposed tax increase to its customers. We heard about the meeting agenda through various indirect means. No doubt the commissioners did not want any residents at the meeting.
Several residents spoke out in opposition to the dramatic tax increase at the meeting while others listened and applauded in support. Immediately following this last-minute public hearing, the commission voted 4-2 in favor of the proposed 2018-19 budget that included the 13 percent tax increase.
We entrusted these commissioners to provide direct oversight to the PSD in a professional, financially responsible manner.
Their actions demonstrated their lack of knowledge in financial planning and business accountability. Their behavior seems reflective of a political power struggle with the town of James Island.
Please remember this debacle at the November election when several commissioners are up for re-election.
Susan E. Pletcher