West Columbia, SC 06/21/2022 (Paul Kirby) – The City of West Columbia’s mayor and council passed a municipal tax increase at their meeting held Monday night. The vote was close with 5 of the members voting for the increase and 4 voting against.
The City’s department heads had requested a number of things during the normal budget process. The City’s staff had whittled those requests down to the ones that they felt were absolutely necessary. On the final list that was presented to the mayor and council, almost all request were for personnel positions. These new hires included a plan reviewer, 2 new dispatchers, a driver and equipment operator III, a mechanic, 2 equipment operator IIs, and an additional large bay for the City’s Fleet Service facility.
According to the City, this tax increase will raise the municipal taxes on a home valued at $100,000 by approximately $30 per year. According to realtor.com, the median sales price for a home in the City of West Columbia in April of 2022 was $203,000. Homes in this range will see their city taxes go up by more than $60 per year. That figure only applies to owner occupied homes. Homes that are not owner occupied, such as rentals or a second homes, are taxed at a higher rate.
As stated earlier, the vote on this was close. Councilmembers Mike Green, David Moye, Erin Porter, and Jimmy Brooks voted against the measure with several saying you couldn’t pick a worse time in the history of the city to raise taxes. Green said in an interview Monday that with the cost of everything skyrocketing right now with no end in sight, he was concerned about the elderly and the working-class residents who are already struggling to make it from check to check. The remainder of the council including Mayor Tem Miles, Mickey Pringle, Casey Hallman, Joseph Dickey, and Trevor Bedell all voted in favor of the increase.
This tax increase will first be seen on bills that go out in the fall of 2023.