By Paul Gable
Third and final reading of an ordinance approving the sale of $850,000 in bonds for the Hidden Woods Special Tax District should sail through county council tonight.
Third reading approval is included on the consent agenda of council, meaning it will not be discussed and will receive approval as part of the overall consent agenda unless a council member pulls it off for individual consideration.
The property owners in the Hidden Woods tax district received a shock when their property tax bills arrived in the mail. This was the first year that the special tax for road improvements was included and many homeowners saw their property taxes more than double. This extra assessment is scheduled to run 15 years.
The process to establish the special tax district was entirely legal, according to state law. A petition calling for a referendum received the required number of signatures. The referendum received over 80 percent approval from registered voters in the district.
However, at no time, that we can determine, were property owners informed how much this special tax would cost them. Such information is not required by state law, but it sure should be.
County council is only acting as it was requested to do, in accordance with the results of the referendum and request for bonds, which will be backed by the special tax assessment.
This appears to be another example of why state law governing homeowner associations should be completely re-written. Current state law allows these boards to act behind a veil of secrecy if they choose and nothing in state law forces HOA boards to divulge financial records.
Several state lawmakers have pre-filed bills to “nullify” the Affordable Healthcare Act in South Carolina. I guess they think they are John C. Calhoun incarnate and it’s 1832 again.
Rather than wasting time grandstanding with a bill that will mean essentially nothing, why don’t legislators address issues that actually mean something to the citizens they represent?
If they would actually perform in this manner, maybe people residing under homeowners associations will not experience ‘sticker shock’. Let’s hope no one loses their home because of the increased tax.