ISLE OF PALMS, SC (WCBD) – The Isle of Palms is in a bit of a rut. On one hand, they are facing millions in capital expenses; on the other, they don’t have enough money to pay for those expenses.
Now, the island city is looking for a way to save and collect money.
Like many coastal communities, they are facing flooding issues, parking problems, property tax rate discussions… the list goes on.
All of those things cost money, however, Mayor Jimmy Carroll says the island city is not bringing in enough money to pay for all of this.
“On our limited amount of revenue, we need to find ways to increase our revenue,” he said.
Carroll says the city is in the midst of trying to fund a nearly $24 million drainage project, plus pay for more competitive salaries for law enforcement officials and pay at least $5 million to fix their public safety building.
“We need to raise more money so we can pay our officers, our public safety personnel, address drainage, our public safety building that’s 10-years-old,” he explained.
Mayor Carroll says city officials are actively finding ways to increase the city’s revenue including tax increases.
“We’re looking at everything; when someone builds a house, we’re making it $5 per thousand dollars to build a house, we increased our parking fees, on our rental licenses, we’re doubling that fee.”
He says the new rental fees would generate at least $480 thousand and the increased parking fees would bring in several hundred thousand.
Another issue standing in the way of more revenue:
“Day visitors come out here who don’t really spend money, bring their food out here, don’t gas out here, don’t eat out here – but we still have to police them, protect them, save them, pick up after them,” he said, “That costs money.”
Overall, Carroll says he just wants Isle of Palms to succeed.
“We’re just trying to find a way to keep Isle of Palms flesh. We’re not trying to make money, a business is a non-profit,” he said,
Mayor Carroll said Council is discussing increasing property taxes to help generate revenue. That hasn’t been done in three years.
Right now, Isle of Palms has the lowest tax rate out of the three beaches in Charleston County.