Mount Pleasant passes $87.9M budget for 2014-15 that includes tax increase

By Andy Owens
aowens@scbiznews.com
Published June 16, 2014

No one picked up the mic to speak at a public hearing on Mount Pleasant’s budget at the beginning of last week’s town council meeting, and the fiscal 2014-15 budget passed with two last-minute additions and little discussion.

The final ratified budget totaled $103.4 million, but net appropriations for the fiscal year were $87.9 million after fund transfers of more than $15 million were deducted.

Mount Pleasant’s general fund appropriation totaled more than $70.9 million, with special revenue totaling $12.9 million and capital projects of more than $19 million, according to town documents.

The budget included three fee increases and a millage rate increase of 3 mills to fund infrastructure projects. Included among the fee increases is a reorganization and increase in how the town collects business license fees.

Business license fees will increase by 33 cents per $1,000 of income for every type of business sector. The change also increased the ceiling from $1 million to $3 million for higher-income businesses to qualify for a declining business license rate, and it eliminates a sliding scale of reductions.

Stormwater fees also doubled, with the base rate going from $30 to $60 for homeowners. The town estimates the increase in property taxes will result in $45 more each year for the average homeowner based on an average sale price of $373,000 in Mount Pleasant in 2012. An increase in planning fees also was included in the budget.

Overall, the town estimates the changes will raise $3.25 million each year for capital improvement projects, including infrastructure improvements and repairs such as crumbling pavement, sinkholes, and water and sewer line repairs.

Before the final vote on the budget, two items were successfully added by council members. Council voted to take $34,847 from the town’s contingency fund to pay for a senior center services worker. The town also voted, with objection from town Councilman Ken Glasson, to donate $5,000 from the general fund to Charleston Moves to help pay for a full-time executive director’s salary. The biking and pedestrian advocacy group announced later in the week that Kurt Cavanaugh has been named executive director of the group.

Reach Andy Owens at 843-849-3142.

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