Passing the “ Tax Buck “

If growth is the problem that some Lexington County representatives say and believe it is, they can address that by passing ordinances to not allow any more growth. But they know they can’t, in fact some have even mentioned in past, growth is good, and it is.

So how much growth is good? You’re either growing or you’re dying. They are elected to figure that out, just have to decide and do it. But not continuing the 1978 agreement doesn’t stop growth, just changes who controls it. Remember one of the standards, if it’s not about the money, it’s about control, right.

In the WLTX article it was stated “ The penny tax did not pass, or the capital project sales tax did not pass in 2022. Wessinger said.” But the county council can raise property tax to pay for the escalating cost to cover road maintenance, but not get reelected, most likely, from a constituency that said no to those taxes.

So again what do you do? You “pass the tax buck” to others. How? You come up with some flaky idea that sounds good to some, but really doesn’t stop “growth “which is your constituents concern and maybe some of the county council members, now, nearing an election, but shifts the tax burden to some other County residents , that they represent as well. Well should be anyway, incorporated county residents are still county residents . But oh yeah, you won’t have to raise taxes to pay for the cost, municipal officials will. The ones that can, all municipalities legally can’t.

But it still won’t stop or slow growth in the county and that is where the majority of the residential growth is coming from in the first place.

I will have more data from 2022 and 2023 at, but the short version is in 2022, 2931 permits were issued in unincorporated Lexington County, a total of 1155 in all Lexington municipalities combined, and some of those in the municipality numbers are permits issued by the county, built in the county and later got annexed into a municipality, due to an agreement that residents sign when they purchased property adjoining a municipality and receive municipal services, such as water and sewer. If the county really wants to be in control, they can build their own water and sewer services and provide it. But then they have to deal with constant rising cost to provide those services, due to ever increasing regulations and then have to deal with complaints about rising monthly bills. Not aside from the tax rate to pay for it, and well, as it is now, they don’t even want to raise taxes to pay for proper road maintenance and improvement. So, that’s really not a solution, so let’s just stick to somehow concocting an idea, “the towns need to pay for it.”And by the way, of course we, Lexington County will keep the gas tax dollars and the road tax, paid by the incorporated county resident and not share it with the municipalities.

So let’s discuss that now, since it wasn’t done before by the county with municipalities as Debbie Summers stated in the WLTX article.

How do you divide up the gas tax appropriately to the county and all 14 municipalities? One, you start with a C tax committee as law prescribes, with appropriate number of municipalities represented from all municipalities and County representation. Then you decide (yeah right) how much the county gets and how much the municipalities get. Based on (population, miles of County roads, State Roads, municipal roads,percentage of how much county tax was paid by each incorporated and unincorporated county residents, How many miles the municipality residents drive in the county and how many miles County residents drive in the municipalities, plus back taxes for years since roads last repaved, etc) and you get the picture. No wonder why the 1978 agreement was done in the first place, no one could decide how to divide the money correctly. So it was settled by the county, keeping all the money and maintaining all the roads. That agreement has work very good since 1978.

It was stated in an article by Al Dozier for Lexington Chronicle that “county officials have discussed ways to raise money to combat the problem, including through a user fee and a sales tax hike”. Well, the Penny tax failed, the user fee is being discussed, a sales tax could be done, as well as a property tax increase dedicated to road maintenance and improvement. Wonder where those discussions about those taxes ended? Evidently with county council not deciding, but passing the proverbial “tax buck”.

The best comment I have read was from Councilman Todd Cullum who said maybe the county should go back to the 1978 agreement, have the discussion with the towns first and then decide how to cover the escalating cost of road maintenance and then control growth which was according to some, their real concern.

Hardy King
Irmo Resident