Port Royal property tax rate remains 69 mils

emoody@beaufortgazette.comSeptember 11, 2013 

Port Royal Town Hall

STAFF PHOTO

  • In other business, council:

  • Approved the annexation and rezoning of 508 Broad River Boulevard to a general residential zone.

  • Approved changes to the town's building codes to accommodate updates to the International Building Codes, with South Carolina Building Code modifications.

  • Observed a moment of silence in honor of the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

  • Reappointed Andy Corriveau, Curtis Small and Lee Helena to the Design Review Board.

Port Royal's property tax milage rate will remain the same this year as it has since 2009.

That rate, however, is not what the Beaufort County Assessor's Office estimated it should be.

Port Royal Town Council approved the 69-mil rate during its meeting Wednesday night, with Councilmembers Vernon DeLoach and Mary Beth Gray Heyward absent.

The county recently completed a property reassessment and estimated what new milage rates would be if municipalities collected the same amount of revenue as last year, a practice called "rolling forward" or "rolling backward," depending on whether the tax base grew or shrunk.

In Port Royal's case, the county calculated a roll back was in order and estimated 68.16 mils would bring in $1.87 million and match last year's collection. Each mil would generate $28,249, according to the analysis.

Town manager Van Willis recommended council stick with the 69-mil rate because he doesn't trust the county estimates. He also said the county numbers don't account for unpaid taxes. About five percent of taxes are unpaid each year and the town takes legal action to collect them.

"I have concerns about the actual collections and my best estimate is 69 mils will meet the amount I have budgeted for expenses," Willis said. "The value of our mil was estimated incorrectly last time by a few thousand dollars per mil."

Using a 95-percent collection rate and the $28,249-per-mil value, 69 mils would bring in $1.85 million for Port Royal.

Willis said most of the $2.2 million in assessed property value growth is due to the end of a special tax district which increased the amount of taxable property.

Sixty-nine mils would be a tax increase of 1.22 percent. Port Royal is allowed by state law to increase taxes up to 5.32 percent this year.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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