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The Simpsonville City Commission followed through Tuesday on a commitment it made in April to lower the city’s ad valorem tax rate to 10.6 cents per $100 of assessed value when it passed on first reading the annual tax rate ordinance during the regular meeting.
“This is what you [the commission] agreed to earlier this year,” City Clerk/Treasurer Debbie Batliner told the commission before the vote. “I went ahead and did the calculations, and the rate would have been eleven-point-nine cents per one hundred dollars. The old rate was eleven-point-eight percent.”
A four percent increase is the largest allowable by law without a public vote.
On a $150,000 home, the decrease would lower the Simpsonville property tax bill from $177 last year to $159 this year, a difference of $18.
While the commissioners expressed satisfaction with being able to lower the tax rate for citizens, there was an added benefit.
“By lowering the taxes and not taking the four percent [increase], we don’t have to have the special meeting [to discuss tax rates],” City Administrator David Eaton said.
The commission cited industrial and commercial growth as the main reasons it was able to lower taxes for city property owners.
Mayor Steve Eden opened Tuesday’s regular meeting with a moment of silence to honor fellow commissioner Vicky Wise, who died on Sunday.
“We just wanted to dedicate the meeting to her,” he said. “She served for seventeen years, which is the longest tenure in my twenty-one years as mayor. She was a vital part of our city and will be missed greatly.”
Wise had continued to serve on the commission up until her death, although she had not been able to attend a meeting in several months.
“I was glad that she was able to see the first section of sidewalks finished,” Eaton said. “She was very important in getting that project going, and she was a vital part of it. It just makes me want to work harder to get the second half finished in her honor.”
Outlet mall opening
In his report, Eden noted the successful opening of the new Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass, which started July 30 night with a VIP event.
“I know traffic was horrendous on Saturday, but I thought everything was well organized and our police did a great job. The state police and the transportation department deserve a big thank you. And the crowds were still good today [Tuesday] and yesterday [Monday].
“What we’ve said from the beginning, we went down to Woodstock [Ga.] and they told it was crazy for two weeks, and that’s what we’ve said. After that, I think it’s going to settle down and be manageable.”
Also at the meeting, the commission: