Columbia Taxes Could Go Up, Giving Firefighters and Police A Raise

Taxes

Columbia SC – Wikipedia Commons Photo

Columbia, SC (The State) – There is a good chance Columbia property owners could pay more taxes in the coming year to fund pay raises for police, firefighters and other city employees.

An $8 per year tax increase per $100,000 owner-occupied home could be the key to a 2 percent cost-of-living pay adjustment for all city employees beginning in January, plus the start of a 3 percent yearly pay increase program for police and firefighters, which is aimed at improving employee retention.

“We have to sustain where we ought to be as a capital city when it comes to public safety,” Councilman Sam Davis said Tuesday at a council workshop. “Our pockets are being picked by other municipalities in terms of (employees) we’re losing.”

Councilman Howard Duvall added that city employees “need to have livable wages. … And we can’t do that if we’re continually stressing the general fund with failure to take advantage of the revenue sources that we have.”

A majority of City Council members expressed willingness Tuesday to go along with the property tax increase, which effectively would cancel out a tax reduction the city implemented two years ago.

“I’m regretting it,” Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine said of the earlier tax cut.

It has been almost a decade since property taxes last went up in Columbia.

The proposed tax increase is expected to generate an additional $1.1 million for the city in the year that begins July 1.

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About Colt Roy

Editor and Photojournalist for SConFire.com. Currently employed by the Department of Defense as a Firefighter/EMT. Past North Charleston Fire Department and Whitesville Fire Department. Colt is also the owner of 3 House Photography where his work that doesn't go to SConFire.com is published. You can also follow Colt's work at Heliweb Magazine where he is primary correspondent for coverage of helicopter aviation relating to helicopter air ambulance services and aerial firefighting. Colt uses Canon gear and is currently shooting with a 6D and 50D cameras, 24-105L, 70-200 2.8L, 12-24 F/4.5-5.6 EX.