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Friday, April 26, 2013

Urge Charleston County Council to Say No to TIF

Urge Charleston County Council to Say No to TIF

The Beach Company, a huge Charleston real estate and development firm, has proposed the creation of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district to help fund their "Kiawah River Plantation" (KRP) resort project on Johns Island, which will include over 1,200 resort homes, a golf course and commercial uses on the Mullet Hall Plantation property. TIF’s raise funding for development by borrowing against the project’s future revenue, meaning that property tax revenues are diverted away from community needs like schools to paying off a private development project lucrative for backers.
Traditionally, TIF’s are meant to be used as incentives to redevelop blighted areas. To use them instead to fund a luxury resort sets a dangerous precedent. If the Beach Company is granted the TIF, many more developers will follow hard on their footsteps, diverting tax dollars away from important community needs like schools and fire stations to bankrolling the projects of wealthy developers.
Ever since the approval of the I-526 extension, the assaults by developers on Johns Island have been relentless, from challenging the urban growth boundary meant to protect the rural character of Johns Island for the benefit of a developer (Vic Rawls, also a Charleston County Council members who will have the opportunity to vote on the TIF) to reopening of the discussion of a Sea Island Expressway to the TIF for the Beach Company.
The losers in this rush to high-end development and the building of the infrastructure necessary to sustain it are the rural, indigenous populations of Johns Island, its agricultural communities, its wildlife, and all those who enjoy its as yet unspoiled beauty. To then ask taxpayers to foot the bill for the projects of wealthy developers, sacrificing in the process public funds needed for schools and other essential public services is ludicrous.
If the TIF is passed, the Charleston County School District will lose at least $63 million in tax revenue over 45 years, Charleston County will lose almost $12 million, Charleston County Parks & Recreation will lose over $5 million, and St. Johns Fire District will lose $4.5 million

Take a moment to write the Charleston County Council (some members of which oppose TIF and a number of which are undecided) before their May 2 meeting and respectfully ask them to vote against the TIF. If you can, attend the May 2 Finance Committee Meeting and, if the TIF is passed by the committee, the County Council meeting on May 7 at the Lonnie Hamilton Building on Leeds Avenue in North Charleston.

Charleston County Council Members 

Herbert Ravenel Sass, III--- against the TIF, voted for 526 ext

Dickie Schweers---against the TIF, voted against 526 ext

J. Elliott Summey--Led effort to approve 526 extension

Henry Darby--Possible swing vote on TIF/Voted against 526 ext

Teddy Pryor, Sr. --voted for 526 ext

A. Victor Rawl- Voted for 526 extension, recently successfully challenged Urban Growth Boundary on Johns Island so he could pursue a large development on Johns Island
(843) 766-7334 (H)
vrawl@charlestoncounty.org

Colleen T. Condon --
Voted Against 526 extension

Anna Johnson--
Possible swing vote on TIF/Was swing vote that allowed approval of 526 ext after initially oppsing

Joseph K. Qualey-- Against the TIF, Voted against 526 ext
(843) 693-3434
 jqualey@charlestoncounty.org 


Suggested Text of Email:

I am writing to ask that you vote against the TIF. I do not think that taxpayer dollars should fund a development that will be profitable to a local developer while taking much-needed education money from our children. This also sets a dangerous precedent for future development and gives the illusion that the developers and not the citizens are the first priority of our legislators. It will also speed the hasty development of Johns Island with little or no real thought on how to encourage smart growth that respects the environmental significance, the beauty, the rich history, and the rights of the citizens of Johns Island.

This is a voting issue for me. I need to see some leadership and forward thinking from my representatives and believe that they represent all citizens and not just the best interest of developers.

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