Beaufort County millage rate delayed until beginning of June

From staff reports

Beaufort County Chief Financial Officer Whitney Richland announced Friday, April 30 that, due to previous delays in the revision of the debt millage on tax bills, the County tax roll value and corresponding value of a mil will not be set and released to County stakeholders until the beginning of June.

In previous years, this information would have been available in April, and the County would have met with others to aid in revenue projections for the upcoming fiscal year.

“When staff was first made award of this situation, County Administration as well as Assessor Ebony Sanders accommodated the necessary revisions to tax bills by complying with the requirement to cease other changes to the tax roll, such as changes from 6 percent to 4 percent,” County Chief Financial Officer Whitney Richland said in a news release. “Because this delay impacts so many of our partners — municipalities, fire districts, school board, to name just a few — we wanted to acknowledge this delay, recognize and apologize for the inconvenience to all stakeholders. Beaufort County Council and staff understand that this delay has far reaching effects as all stakeholders rely on this information each year when developing their respective budgets.”

“My office is working diligently to process changes to assessed values and also add new construction both of which affect the value of the County tax roll, and consequently, the value of a mil for the 2021 tax year,” County Assessor Ebony Sanders said. “Although the time frame for processing these changes and providing this information is delayed this year, my staff is carefully processing each application so that all taxpayers are treated fairly and equitably, and their interests are protected.”

At this time, the updated numbers are expected to be available the beginning of June. Beaufort County Council members have been informed of the delay. The Mayors of Yemassee, Port Royal, Beaufort, Bluffton and Hilton Head Island and other stakeholders will be contacted by either County CFO Whitney Richland or Interim County Administrator Eric Greenway who will share updates and answer questions.

“This is an unfortunate and obviously unanticipated delay. We’ve contacted County Council members personally and I’m working closely with both Miss Richland and Miss Sanders and their department staffs, to make sure we are working together as a team,” Interim County Administrator Eric Greenway said. “Again, we recognize the implications of this information delay and are doing everything possible to make sure the budgetary impact to our stakeholders and ultimately County taxpayers, is kept to a minimum. I’m confident the millage will be set the beginning of June and budgets will be set for the new fiscal year, beginning July 1.”

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