Company hired to track down tax scofflaws to get higher fee
The company Georgetown County hired to track down people illegally claiming the Homestead Exemption will now get 20 percent of the money the county recoups instead of 16 percent.
The contract with PRA Government Services, LLC, was approved by Georgetown County Council in August. Because the “scope” of the contract changed, County Council had to reapprove it at its meeting last week.
If PRA finds a taxpayer who is claiming the exemption but not eligible, the taxpayer will be required to pay the adjusted tax rate for the current year and the previous year.
The county is encouraging homeowners to check with the Assessor’s office to make sure they are eligible for the discount. If they are not, and notify the county by March 31, they will only given a new tax bill for the current year.
The law allows property owners to claim a lower tax rate (4 percent instead of 6) on a home that serves as their primary residence. Taxpayers can only claim one primary residence.
PRA estimates about 3 to 5 percent of the approximately 7,500 people in the county who claim the exemption should not receive it.
County Administrator Sel Hemingway said the county rechecked the bids before resigning with PRA, and found the next lowest bidder wanted a 21 percent fee.
In other business:
• Council gave final approval to three items: adding
adult day cares to the zoning ordinance governing day cares; a request by Stella Mercado to amend the rear-yard setback on a property in Huntington Mews East; and amending the zoning ordinance governing resort services districts as to what uses are permitted.
• Council gave first reading by title only to three ordinances: an amendment to the Future Land Use Map for three parcels at Highway 17 Business and Sunnyside Avenue in Murrells Inlet; an amendment to the county’s Zoning Map to rezone 2.67 acres from the Live Oak Village Planned Development to “general commercial”; and a ordinance to repeal impact fees in the event county residents approve a new one-cent sales tax in the General Election next month.
Council will discuss the three ordinances and vote on second reading at its next meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 23.
• Wilson Medical Transport of Scranton will no longer be allowed to do business in Georgetown County because it lost its license and permit to operate in South Carolina.
If the company gets its license back, it will have to apply to the county for a Private Ambulance Franchise, which will then have to be approved by County Council.
• Elizabeth Krauss of Georgetown was appointed to the county Planning Commission.
Krauss works for the Georgetown County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs.
By Chris Sokoloski
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