The members of Beaufort City Council want to address the reality of what a Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) will mean to all of Beaufort County's citizens.
It was with disappointment that we learned Beaufort County Council voted 6-5 to not allow LOST to be presented by referendum to the voters.
Here are some facts that referendum opponents might not know:
State law mandates that 71 percent of the tax be used to reduce real estate property taxes. That's a "win."
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The other 29 percent also will help "hold the line" on future tax levies by municipalities and the county. Another "win."
About 50 percent of the LOST will be paid by visitors and tourists. A third "win."
There is no tax on food and medicine. A fourth "win."
We do not like tax increases, yet all of our costs keep rising. The LOST will help us stem the rising tide of costs while providing tax relief to all property owners.
Are we beating the drum? Yes. Would this be a great deal for citizens? Yes.
We urge the County Council to reconsider and put this referendum on the ballot. Let the people decide.
Editor's note: This letter was written by Mayor Billy Keyserling on behalf of all members of the Beaufort City Council: Mayor Pro Tem Donnie Beer, George O'Kelley, Mike McFee and Mike Sutton.