Summerville, S.C. - Summerville Town Council passes first reading of a budget that will raise the tax rates (millage) on property taxpayers on Town of Summerville residents at last night's Town Council Meeting. The increase comes to make up for a $2.8 million budget shortfall. The increase is expected to pay for $1.8 million of the shortfall, with the remaining $1 million is expected to be made up with American Rescue Plan funds under the plan currently being taken under consideration. The tax increase amounts to 6.5 mills.
Mayor Ricky Waring who was the main proponent of the increase last night said "This Town is in trouble financially, if we don't raise taxes this year we'll be in big trouble next year." He went on to say, "we are in the worst financial shape I've seen this Town in over 50 years". Note Waring was elected Mayor in 2019.
Waring went further into detailing just how bad the financial situation is currently in Summerville:
"Are we going to make our citizens upset, you damn right we are.." Waring exclaimed. As part of the same extended commentary, that turned hostile Mayor Waring said "Raise em', sure our citizens are going to suffer! Sure lower income people are going to suffer more than the rich man..."
The tax increase comes while inflation and gas prices are reaching some of the highest levels in decades. The budget still has to go through more scrutiny before it is finalized, and residents are encouraged to communicate their thoughts with their Town Council member on the recent budget.
Councilman Bill Mcintosh who was the lone vote against the tax increase pointed out that in previous years when the Town cut taxes, revenues increased. He said "Summerville doesn't have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem".
SummervilleNews.net will be covering the issue closely and will put out a more thorough detailed report and analysis of this budget as it continues to advance through the process.