Amazon, in Lexington County, pays around $1.1 million-a-year as a fee-in-lieu of tax,” said Lexington County Councilman Todd Cullum. He was the speaker at the Greater Cayce-West Columbia Chamber Breakfast, Tuesday. It was held at Cayce United Methodist Church.
Lexington County Council is scheduled to vote on a budget of approximately $220 million Tuesday. Of that, $141.7 million is the general fund budget. Cullum said the non-general fund budget, which comes from grants and other sources, is $75.3 million.
Cullum, who lives in Cayce and represents Dist 9, spoke of some the industry in Lexington County. He said Amazon also accounts for 4,000 jobs, which generates a huge amount of revenue for the county. He added that the giant on-line retailer does not demand much in the way of county services, like law enforcement or fire. Other large companies that pay a fee-in-lieu are: Nephron, Dominion Energy and soon-to-be Juul, that is locating in the county.
Cullum also pulled up his, and his wife Michelle’s personal tax bill on a projection screen. He explained that just more than 60 percent of tax payments to the county go to fund schools, in varying amounts depending on the school district. All taxpayers can access their tax bill information via the county’s website.
About 20 percent of the tax bill pays for county government, including law enforcement funding, the largest county expenditure. Other services funded are: public works; fire department; EMS and the courts.
Cullum said that all property is taxed a 6 percent rate, but owners who occupy their homes receive a 2 percent exemption that lowers a primary homeowner’s tax bill.
Other expenditures covered by the county tax include agencies. In that portion of funding are: Midlands Tech and the recreation and aging department. A municipal tax is also included on some bills of county residents.
Cullum also explained that property in the county is assessed every five years, with the next reassessment scheduled for 2020. There is a cap of 15 percent on reassessed value of property in a five-year period, Cullum said. Property owners can appeal an assessment if they think county assessors have over-valued their property.