PICKENS COUNTY—Pickens County Council is working out the details of a decision that would show taxpayers how much of their money goes to funding TIF (Tax Increment Financing) programs.
County Administrator Chappell Hurst says the matter has generated a quite a bit of confusion in the past. The solution will add a line to the affected district’s tax notices explaining how much money is actually going to the TIF.
Hurst says this was an issue that came up while sitting down with an auditor.
“Out of the gross tax of $4,385.10, Clemson’s (TIF) actually got 4,049.02,” said Hurst. “How you get to the amount of 4,049.02 is the amount that the citizen pays, plus the school tax credit, plus the city credit, plus the county tax credit, plus the homestead exemption. All of that goes into the cost.”
“The auditor was trying to show that the county didn’t get this money, the school didn’t get this money, and that the money went to Clemson or one of the other (TIF) districts,” he said.
Chairman Jennifer Willis says the issue is in need of clarification.
“We’re trying to tell people that this is how much of your money is being held here, as opposed to being divided up between three entities, and I’m not sure we’ve communicated that clearly to the general population,” said Willis.
The change would only apply to the affected districts.
“The line would only go on the notices that are affected by the TIF,” said Hurst. “It would affect the TIF districts in Easley, Liberty, and Clemson.”
Councilman Neil Smith says being clear with the taxpayer is the ultimate goal.
“What we’re really trying to show is who got what,” said Smith. “We are not making clear to the taxpayer what money the TIF is getting. I think that’s the intent.”
“The TIF money is taking the school taxes and we’re not being honest with the taxpayer to show what the money is going to do,” he continued. “You really need to be able to see it.”
The Council voted to send the issue to committee in order to get the details and clearly communicate what they are trying to accomplish with these notices.
“I support the full exposure, but I still don’t think we’re getting the point across that you’re not paying much in school tax, your tax is going to the TIF,” said Smith. “I think the public needs to truly understand that.”