A Message from Hilton Head Island Mayor John McCann
December 3, 2020
Beaufort County appears to be moving forward with collecting law enforcement fees that will impact local businesses that may ultimately have to pay thousands of dollars in additional taxes. Residential property owners may have to more as well to sustain law enforcement services already included in their base tax payments.
What is the fee?
In August, the Beaufort County Council passed an Ordinance to levy a Beaufort County Law Enforcement Service Charge and Uniform User Fee on the annual property tax bills of Hilton Head Island residents and business owners. This charge will generate $4.4 million in surplus revenue for Beaufort County on top of what Hilton Head Island property owners already pay for law enforcement services.
What is the Hilton Head Island Town Council doing about the fee?
To counter the collection of this fee and show good faith, the Hilton Head Island Town Council voted 6 - 0 on Wednesday authorizing a $2 million payment to Beaufort County for law enforcement services. In exchange, the Town Council has asked Beaufort County remove the law enforcement fee from 2020 tax bills for Hilton Head Island property owners.
By imposing this arbitrary fee for law enforcement services in the middle of a pandemic and struggling economy, Beaufort County is only creating harm to businesses and residents. This action is not only poorly timed, but it is dangerous in the long-lasting impacts it will have on local businesses.
During this time, we should be helping people, not harming others. Many businesses are struggling to stay afloat, and families and individuals have suffered financially and emotionally due to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on their personal lives. We are working with the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce to champion this matter for businesses and our Town Council members are taking up the matter for their constituents.
What can you do to help?
You can send a message to Beaufort County.
Voice your concerns about having to pay this fee by calling or sending an email to the interim Beaufort County Administrator at 843-255-2026 or Beaufort County Council at 843-255-2180. Ask them to repeal their Ordinance.
Visit beaufortcountysc.gov and click on the "Contact" tab at the top of the page. In the contact menu at the bottom of the page, select Citizengram. On this form, choose to send a message to the interim County Administrator and/or County Council.
Where can you find more information?
For more information about this matter, visit wealreadypay.org.
For more information on the status of your taxes, visit www.beaufortcountytreasurer.com/2020-tax-bills-update.