Letters To the Editor

Pointing out hypocrisy

Dear Editor,

Pickens County school district administration recently put forth a five-year plan that proposes raising property taxes 13 mills.

Tom O’Hanlan, speaking on behalf of the Manufacturers Caring for Pickens County (MCPC), endorsed the plan in a letter to the editor that said “The MCPC would like to offer our support to the five-year maintenance plan. … While no one likes taxes and tax increases, sometimes they are necessary.”

Looking at the MCPC website, the members are listed as Cornell Dubilier, MST Concrete, Palmetto Plating, Reliable Sprinkler, Sealevel Systems, St. Jude Medical and Tri-Tech Inc.

About that time, I read St. Jude Medical successfully negotiated a deal with the county to extend its fee-in-lieu-of-property-taxes agreement for another five years.

In most fee-in-lieu agreements, the business is charged a lower assessment ratio, and the business’ fee or tax is frozen for the life of the agreement.

I did a freedom of information request with the county government and was told some other MCPC members — Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Company, Sealevel Systems Inc. (O’Hanlan’s company) and Tri-Tech Inc. — also have fee-in-lieu agreements.

While I’m grateful to our local businesses for their investment, it is quite hypocritical for Mr. O’Hanlan to push for higher property tax rates when his company and most of his organization’s members won’t have to pay more in taxes because they negotiated a fee-in-lieu agreement with the county. They are shielded on property tax increases on these agreements.

Weldon Clark