Owners of businesses, cars and boats in Richland County will pay higher tax bills to support public schools, Richland County Council decided Thursday in a final vote for the upcoming year.
For property owners in Richland 1, taxes will rise just shy of $70 for each $100,000 in taxable value of their businesses and their personal vehicles to cover operating costs of a $214 million budget, according to figures provided by the county.
For property owners in Richland 2, the comparable tax increase will be about $30 to cover operating costs of a $148 million budget.
Both budgets are for the tax year that begins July 1. Exact tax calculation will be determined later this year before bills are mailed.
A divided council also approved giving themselves $7,700 to cover the cost of professional training and travel during the fiscal year. Each council member already has a $7,000 expense account.
Currently, the 11-member council has no money allocated for training, said Councilwoman Dalhi Myers, a newly elected member who made the suggestion Thursday during council’s final vote on the 2017-2018 budget.
“It was hard to ask for that,” Myers said. “But we have to do our jobs effectively. ... (to) be a professional council.”
Myers said the $7,000 expense account is not enough just to communicate with constituents, much less to get professional training. The size of her district in Lower Richland, which she said is 351 square miles, requires a lot of travel.
Councilman Greg Pearce, one of the four who voted no, said, “I would have a hard time justifying that (the new travel and training budget).”