Hilton Head budget approved with boating center, no tax increase

bheffernan@islandpacket.comJune 18, 2013 

Hilton Head Island Town Council adopted a $62 million budget Tuesday that includes $900,000 for a long-debated sailing and rowing center, and no increase in property taxes.

The budget, approved unanimously, is $11.4 million less than the current year's budget. The town's tax rate will remain at 19.33 mills, though council is expected to adjust the rate in August, when Beaufort County government issues a final property-value reassessment, so that property-tax collections remain revenue-neutral. The rate would increase if assessed property values fall, as expected.

The budget decrease is explained in part by land purchases made in the current fiscal year, including $5 million in March for 102 acres of the Planter's Row Golf Course in Port Royal Plantation, not likely to be duplicated.

However, the town has budgeted nearly $10 million for capital projects next year, including $903,000 for a community boating center to be built off Squire Pope Road. Some council members say the project should be pared back because boating groups that championed the park for years ultimately did not contribute as much money to the project as they pledged.

The budget does not include a $1M loan requested by supporters of the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina.

Other planned projects include:

  • $1.3 million for a scaled-down linear park to connect a renovated Shelter Cove shopping area with Chaplin Community Park.
  • $1.26 million for bicycling and walking paths.
  • $2.17 million for road improvements.
  • $150,000 to form an economic-development corporation to attract investment and new businesses.
Follow reporter Brian Heffernan at twitter.com/IPBG_Brian.

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