23 May The Budget Puzzle – Many Pieces
When we get our tax bills in the fall, many don’t see the line items from the various entities or services. First we should understand that everyone in Beaufort County does not get the same tax bill.
Everyone who lives in the County does get the county bill. This is to say that for government operations, county debt service, open space acquisitions (as approved by the voters) if you live on Hilton Head or in Bluffton, Port Royal and the City of Beaufort you pay the same for government operations as those who live in unincorporated portions of Beaufort County. At the same time if you live in a municipality you also pay the municipal tax for the higher level of services not the least of which is fire service. And finally if one lives in the unincorporated portion of the county you pay for fire services to one of the public service districts.
Everyone in the County pays a stormwater fee based on where one lives. Those who live in owner occupied residences do not pay school tax because the state’s extra penny sales tax is supposed to cover your share. But if you own or rent a rental property or rent or own a business property you pay for school tax.
As each of the local governments works its way through its budget process, we are required to publicize and hold a public hearing on our proposed budgets. The Beaufort County Council has advertised and will have public hearings at each end of the county.
Stay tuned for the City’s advertisement and public hearing when we are ready to put forth a final budget in the coming weeks.