Some Hilton Head Island homeowners will see double-digit increases on their property tax bills next year, while business and ambulance fees will rise by at least 15 percent under an $86.2 million budget adopted unanimously Tuesday by the Town Council.
Council members with no discussion gave final approval to the budget for fiscal 2018, which starts July 1. The budget includes increases in the general and debt services funds, and a decrease in the capital improvement fund. The budget for this fiscal year is $106.4 million.
Town manager Steve Riley said after Tuesday’s meeting that the new budget will help the town recover from Hurricane Matthew and address other priorities.
“I think it’s a good, solid budget,” Mayor David Bennett said afterward. “It’s been heavily scrutinized. I think it’s sound. I think it strikes the right balance of cleaning up from Hurricane Matthew and all that’s associated with that, and moving forward on some important matters.”
Among other things, the budget will hit the pocketbooks of property owners, business operators and those who need an ambulance. Here’s a quick glance:
The millage rate for the town’s general fund is increasing by 1.18 mills. In addition, there is a new five-year, 5-mill rate to replenish the hurricane recovery fund.
In an example previously provided by the town, property taxes on a year-round home valued at $350,000 would increase by $86.52, or 27.9 percent.
Business license fees
The cost of business licenses will increase 15 percent. This is the first time business license fees have increased in more than 20 years, said John Troyer, the town’s director of finance.
In examples previously given by the town, a resort earning $20 million in annual gross income would pay $2,205 more next fiscal year. A restaurant serving alcohol and earning an annual gross income of $2 million would pay $453 more, while a restaurant not serving alcohol and earning $1.6 million in gross income yearly would pay an additional $149.
The new budget increases the baseline cost of an ambulance ride and the per-mile transport fee, according to town documents.
Basic life support and a non-emergency ride will increase 15 percent to a base of $460. The most advanced level of care, which includes emergency transport for problems such as trauma or cardiac arrest, will increase slightly more than 15 percent, to $1,010. In all situations, the per-mile transport fee will increase $1 to $7.50.