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The Simpsonville City Commission approved on first reading its budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year at Wednesday’s meeting, and in the process had a surprise for the city’s residents.
The commission approved lowering the ad valorem property tax by 10.2 percent.
“It’s always good to keep the burden on our citizens as low as possible,” Mayor Steve Eden said. “With the outlet mall and all that is going on, we thought it was a good time to lower our tax rate because of the revenue windfall from the development and the restaurant tax, which will mostly affect people from outside of Simpsonville.”
The new rate will be 10.6 cents per $100 of assessed value, down from 11.8 cents per $100 assessed value in 2013-14.
And Eden said he didn’t think this would be the last time citizens could see a lower tax rate.
“I think as we continue to grow around the mall and the [Interstate 64] interchange, we can continue to look at ways to reduce taxes,” he said.”
The new rate will reduce the property taxes on a $200,000 by $24, from $236 to $212.
The reduction will also take significant cut from the amount of property taxes collected by the city. City Administrator David Eaton said the city brought in about $250,000 in property taxes this year, but has budgeted only $214,000 for next year.
“Plus, this moves the tax from a mandatory tax [on property] to an optional tax [the restaurant tax],” added commissioner Cary Vowels.
The budget for the year is a little more than $1.5 million for the general fund, which includes a budgeted $60,000 from the new restaurant tax. Those funds, however, are restricted and can only be used on civic improvements.
The road fund also saw increase this year, with more funding coming because of the city’s growth and from the Road Assistance/Coal Severance. The total road fund budget is a little more than $100,000.
The parks budget is $171,500 and the sewer budget is $1.189 million.
All budgets are balanced, and each includes money for capital outlay projects and retains the same balance carried forward, including $400,000 for the general fund and 4690,000 for the sewer fund.
“I can see us being able to drastically reduce those taxes again in the coming years,” Eden said. “As we continue to bring in good development and add jobs, we’re going to help bring those taxes down.”
Also at the meeting, the commission: