Beaufort News

15 stories for '15: Open your wallet wider

Staff illustration

The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette run down a list of topics we expect to make news in 2015.

1. Open your wallet wider: Since the economic downturn, Beaufort County has tightened its belt with each passing budget. While County Council has lauded itself for minimizing tax increases over that time, it can hardly keep its balance on top of the mound of expenses it has swept under the rug.

Now the county is staring at five to 10 years of massive expenses: to build a new detention center, overhaul its aging Ribaut Road campus, implement unfunded federal water regulations, circumvent Act 388 to fund schools, purchase the Pepper Hall property, dole out cost-of-living increases to employees, finish the Bluffton Parkway flyover, fix the Windmill Harbour intersection, and even develop a plan to replace the bridges to Hilton Head Island. With so much bearing down on the budget, council will have no choice but to raise property taxes this year.