Letters to the Editor

Tax disparity a killer in SC | Letters

Overcrowding forces Beaufort schools to use mobile classrooms, here’s an inside look

Beaufort County School District has a new style of mobile classrooms for two of its most over populated schools.
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Beaufort County School District has a new style of mobile classrooms for two of its most over populated schools.

I read your article about the proposed 9 percent property tax increases on second homes (many are not rented), apartment buildings, vacation homes, businesses, vehicles and other properties to fund shortfalls in Beaufort County school operating funds.

Eventually, those businesses/vacation homes will leave because the disparity in property taxes between the primary resident and everybody else is one of the worst in the entire United States.

That is what the longtime Republican-led South Carolina legislature wanted under Act 388, and that is what it will get.

Quinn Peitz


Hilton Head annexation talk must include all

Residents of the Mariner’s Cove were surprised to learn from The Island Packet’s May 13 article on proposed annexation of Jenkins Island that their community is one of four subject to the proposal. (“Why can’t they tell us what would happen? Jenkins Island residents weigh annexation.”) The four are Windmill Harbour, Blue Heron Point, Mariner’s Cove and Hilton Head Harbor RV Resort and Marina.

The article reported that Hilton Head town staff held two informal meetings in the gated community of Windmill Harbour “to discuss an annexation measure that would bring Jenkins Island and Hog Island into the incorporated town.” The residents of Mariner’s Cove are concerned that they were not included in these meetings, and we suspect that the other two communities were not included either. Yet the petition under discussion relates to all four communities.

We urge the town to be fully transparent with all four of the affected communities about the implications of the proposed annexation, if indeed the idea is to consolidate all of them in a single measure for voters to consider.

Town and county officials should also consider the implications of a process in which one community, by virtue of its larger population, might override the interests and concerns of the others in a referendum.

Before any further action is taken, we hope that officials of the town, as well as the county, will provide the opportunity for the residents/owners in Mariner’s Cove, Blue Heron Point, and the Hilton Head Harbor RV Resort and Marina to ask questions and comment on the proposed annexation.

Janet W. Miller

Hilton Head Island

Beaufort County Council should support schools

Beaufort County Councilmen Brian Flewelling and Paul Sommerville are against approving the Beaufort County School District operating budget. Why is that?

Oh, let’s see. Paul Sommerville owns rental properties and it takes him four months of rent before he turns a profit. Brian Flewelling’s conscience clearly undervalues the education for Beaufort County school children, as South Carolina has the sixth lowest property tax in the United States.

These two councilmen demonstrate what’s wrong with the politicians in this area, with their proposed vote against school district operating money.

The economy is alive and flourishing in Beaufort County, and the school children’s education should be supported.

Lyn Piwko Bullard

Hilton Head Island

Don’t hold kids hostage

The debate over the unequal school tax burden on owners of secondary homes is a worthy discussion, but the needs of our educational system should not be held hostage to resolving that debate.

Nothing could improve the interests of all homeowners more than creating excellence in our schools.

To argue that taxes should not be increased to pay for much-needed expansion and improvements to our educational infrastructure is misguided and disingenuous.

I am a primary homeowner with no school-age children, but I can think of no more important use of our resources than elevating the quality of education in our county schools.

Paul Stevens


Beaufort County Council member Paul Sommerville has a conflict

Your lead article from June 14 on the possible tax increases for school operating funds mentioned a remark by Beaufort County Council member Paul Sommerville. He said it was an unfair burden on him since he owned rental properties.

Members of the council are there to represent the best interests of the citizens – not their own interests. Codes of ethics specifically state that if they are in a position of authority or trust, they should not be making decisions that directly or indirectly benefit themselves. By doing so, they are in a conflict of interest.

On this matter, Mr. Sommerville should recuse himself from voting, all members should make public any business ownerships or interests that can directly benefit themselves from decisions they are making, and the council should decide what further action needs to be taken to avoid any perception of competing interests.

Thomas Nickles


Don’t blame golf courses for fish kills

Collins Doughtie’s “Cast & Blast” column on June 9 made reference to golf course maintenance practices causing issues with water quality in the lagoons on Hilton Head Island. This cannot be farther from the truth.

First of all, golf courses do not have the luxury of over-fertilizing, or using excessive herbicides and insecticides. Golf operations are way too capital-intensive and cannot afford that luxury.

Much research has been done by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America over the last 20 years with regard to conservation of chemical applications on golf courses. The main cause for polluted lagoons are homeowners overusing chemicals.

While I enjoy most of Collins’ columns, this one was terribly misguided with inaccurate information on this issue.

Do you know how many species of birds and wildlife live in and around Hilton Head lagoons? (A typical golf course application of fertilizer, herbicide or insecticide has less toxicity than an aspirin when spread out over an application area.)

I have over 40 years of golf course ownership and management experience, and I can tell you that fish kills are not caused by golf course maintenance practices.

Michael Mitzner

Daufuskie Island

Hilton Head Boys & Girls Club’s impact is islandwide

I spoke at the Hilton Head Island Town Council meeting on June 4 in support of the Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head and hope that The Island Packet will share the findings of my analysis of its service with the public.

The club provided more than 290,000 hours of extraordinary child care to mainly minority and low-income families last year at a cost to the families of less than 67 cents per hour. While the children’s lives were being enriched with creative and worthwhile activities, their 750 parents were employed in desperately-needed service positions all over the island. The roster of jobs performed includes landscaping, housekeeping, health care, retail shops, restaurants and so forth.

It is virtually certain that every resident and visitor to the No. 1 island destination in the country engages in daily activities that are enabled or enhanced by this remarkable organization. The charitable contribution of the club to the island’s residents may amount to $1 million a year. This service eases the cost of living for desperately needed service workers and contributes to the remarkable quality of life here in Paradise.

All of us owe a thank you to Kim Likens, Daniel Godsun and their remarkable team at the Boys & Girls Club.

Randy Brooks

Hilton Head Island

Show respect to Old Glory

Having just commemorated Flag Day, do we all follow the United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, otherwise known as the Flag Code?

“During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present ... should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart ... The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag ... should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart ... Individuals in military uniform should render the military salute through the National Anthem and the Pledge ...”

Furthermore, when the flag is being brought into an assembly of people, the moment the flag enters the room and as long as it is “on the move” and through the pledge and national anthem, one’s right hand should be over the heart.

If you fly a flag at your home, it is OK to fly it 24/7 so long as it is lighted at night.

What will happen if you disobey this code? Probably nothing, except lack of respect for you from individuals who know and understand this code.

Old Glory deserves our solemn respect. It stands for freedom, earned at a great cost by many.

Sunni Bond

Hilton Head Island

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