WEST ASHLEY, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston city officials are looking for ways to fund several drainage projects in the outskirts of West Ashley following the completion of a drainage study.
The city has created a Tax Increment Finance District. This would take increasing property values to help fund drainage projects.
Christopher Morgan, the city’s planning manager says although they are using tax dollars, it will not increase anyones taxes.
“It’s not raising anybody’s property taxes to use this TIF, it’s just taking the money that would come from increased values out there to help fund it,” Morgan said.
Currently, increased property tax money goes toward the county and school district. The city is looking to tap into that tax money someone would normally pay to fund flooding projects in West Ashley. This way, they are not increasing taxpayer’s dollars.
The TIF district would impact at least 65 properties. This includes properties toward the end of Glenn McConnell Parkway, Bees Ferry Road, and eventually the Glenn McConnell extension, including a portion of Long Savannah. The properties include commercial, retail, and multi-family properties in the area.
The TIF comes after city engineers just completed a study of the Church Creek Drainage Basin area.
“These are needed for engineering improvement for the Church Creek Drainage Basin,” Morgan said. “This is another funding mechanism that will help it be funded without raising everybody’s property taxes.”
Now that the city knows what they need to fix, based off of that study, they are looking for ways to fund it, except they do not know how much money the TIF will generate yet.
“We are still looking at that,” Morgan said. “It depends on how long the TIF is carried for, how many various properties are in it…but it is subject to discussion with both Charleston County and the school district.”
Morgan says the city believes the TIF could generate five million dollars over the course of 10 years. City officials believe $50 million could cover the cost of completing all of the drainage studies, but that could take at least 20 years to gather solely from the TIF.
Currently, the city is in the process of sending official notification letters to the county and the school district about the TIF. Morgan says the county and school district could vote on a decision to approve the TIF sometime in October. He says the city will vote on the approval of the TIF by the end of this year.