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Property taxes in Simpsonville may go up slightly

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Sidewalks project ‘lights up’ officials

By Steve Doyle

Property taxes in Simpsonville are likely to rise a small amount this fall.

The Simpsonville City Commission passed on first reading Tuesday night an ordinance that would set the ad valorem tax rate at 11.8 cents per $100 of assessed value and adopt the county’s rate, as yet undetermined, for personal property tax.

The rate will have a public hearing at 8:15 a.m. Aug. 21 in Simpsonville City Hall, and at 8:30 the commission could take up the ordinance for final approval.

The increase, which is .5 of a cent to property owners, represents a 3 percent increase from the .111 per $100 the city charged  last November. The city expects to generate $222,947 in real estate revenue, up from $211,117. Including personal property tax, the city figures to gain $258,700 in revenue.

State statute limits a community from raising property tax revenue by more than 4 percent, and cities adjust their rates to meet that goal.

But in introducing this rate for consideration, city officials again noted that overall property values in the county had declined by about 3 percent from last year, with the Property Valuation Administrator saying the total value is $195 million, down from $199 million.

City Administrator David Eaton noted that two significant developments in the city – Horizon Group Properties’ outlet mall and Crosley’s new warehouse in Kingbrook Industrial Park – currently count against the values.

“Since 2008 we’ve been down,” Mayor Steve Eden said. “When we get [Horizon Senior Vice President] Tom’s [Rumptz’] properties on line, hopefully we’ll have to go down to stay at four percent.”

Eaton noted that rates continue to be below a high of 16 percent several years ago.

City Clerk Debbie Batliner later reported that the city had no delinquent taxes of more than one year in arrears. She and City Attorney Hite Hays had focused on getting those taxes collected.

“We have five [outstanding] – two in bankruptcy,” she said. “But all only one year.”

 

Sidewalks coming along

Eden reported that the downtown project – to add new and upgraded sidewalks, light posts and benches, etc., along U.S. 60 between Old Veechdale Road and Fairview Drive – is coming along quite well, and he and Eaton almost gushed in their praise of the project’s contractor, Bluegrass Contracting Corp. of Lexington.

“We have a great contractor doing a fantastic job,” he said. “The project should take seventy days – making a major improvement.”

Eden and Eaton were scheduled to review “shop plans” Wednesday on the light posts to finalize their manufacturing.

The project appears on schedule to be completed in time for Light Up Simpsonville, which is slated for Nov. 16.

 

Also at the meeting, commissioners:

  • Heard from Eaton that candidates for the new police officer have been interviewed and that a final candidate could be submitted Aug. 21 for approval by the commission.
  • Approved, 4-0 – commission member Vicky Wise was absent – final readings of ordinances that set the final budget amounts for 2012-13 and created a second update of a published record of all ordinances.