Murray column: For Sun City folks, there’s no upside to incorporating IL

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Guest columnist Daniel Murray lives in Sun City Carolina Lakes in Indian Land.

I recently attended a presentation in Sun City Carolina Lakes by the pro-incorporation group and those who don’t support the Indian Land incorporation effort.
After listening closely to both presentations, I am convinced that incorporation is not the best option for us.
I have several solid reasons for coming to this conclusion. First of all, there is no way a town can be run on $7.7 million, as proposed by VTIL (Voters for a Town of Indian Land). Their proposed budget is non-binding. In other words, if there is a town council, it will decide its own budget without paying any attention to what VTIL has proposed.
I believe what VTIL is saying about how much our property taxes will rise is wrong. They will go up much more. Based on my calculations, my property tax in Sun City will rise at least by 50 percent! I don’t see how I get any value out of what I will pay if Indian Land incorporates.
The NO TOIL (Town of Indian Land) team presented a comparison budget from Aiken. It is a town less than half the size of what an Indian Land would be, but with about the same population. Looking at comparable services, Aiken’s budget is almost $25 million. To me that makes much more sense than what VTIL claims a town of Indian Land would need as a budget.
Also, the expense budget – the total of our HOA fees – for about 6,000 citizens in Sun City is around $7.6 million. Logic tells me that you cannot, based on this, run a town of 25,000 on only $7.7 million.
A second reason I oppose incorporation is that we have all of the services we need here in Sun City already. We already pay for services such as police, fire, EMS, community facilities, etc. through our county taxes. Why would I want to pay more for the very same services?
If we incorporate, it has been made quite clear to us that the county will have to charge the municipality (meaning us) more for services we already have (note Sheriff Barry Faile’s earlier comments). Why would I want to do that?
Another reason I oppose is that it is just another layer of government – more bureaucracy. One of the reasons we moved here was to get away from all of the layers of government. We don’t need another almost 80 government employees, which is what we would have if we incorporated. The HOA here in Sun City gives us all of the rules/regulations that we need.
Under this proposal, Sun City becomes a cash cow to further the development of the areas to our south. There are no additional benefits to Sun City residents, other area HOA residents, or Indian Land taxpayers in general that can be gained from another layer of government and are not already provided by our current county government under an unincorporated structure.
Many of us just cannot afford to pay more in all kinds of taxes and not get any more services for our money.
When asked by one of the folks in the audience, a VTIL spokesperson said there will be a vote in March of this year. I urge you to oppose the incorporation of Indian Land and vote no.