A new tax is set to start in Lake Wylie, and residents are signing up to help decide how to spend the money.
On Monday, York County Council finalized the new recreation tax district for the Lake Wylie area. It can charge up to 10 mills annually. Revenue will be spent on recreation projects within the district.
Just days after the final vote, online applications went live for the five-member recreation tax board. The board will help make funding decisions, though operational control largely belongs to County Manager Bill Shanahan. Trish Startup, spokesperson for York County, said issues like when the tax will start, how much it will be and how long it might take to name the citizen board are still being determined by county staff.
“Now that the ordinance has been approved, management staff will meet to determine the next steps including the process and schedule,” she said.
Typically, appointing people to county boards involves applications reviewed by a Council subcommittee, then recommended to the full Council. A process likely to take more than a month and up to several months from the time candidates are identified. The Council member serving the area, in this case Dist. 2 Councilwoman Allison Love, often has significant sway in picking from the candidate pool, but not unilateral say.
Ron Domurat led the community group, made largely of Lake Wylie Athletic Association membership, that petitioned the county for the tax district. Domurat’s group pitched a community park on 50 acres of county owned land along Crowders Creek. Now, he said, several members will apply for the new tax board.
Any resident within the taxed area can apply.
“Four of the members of our core group of volunteers will apply for different terms of the first board,” he said. “Specialties include land development, construction and finance. We could use a member with local marketing skills and experience with sponsorship to promote adoption by local businesses.”
Along with money generated by the new tax, the park plan gets another $2.5 million in county hospitality tax funding. That money was approved in late 2015, contingent on a tax district to handle remaining construction costs and future operations.
“We will need these funds to complete the design, clear the land and initiate construction before bond funding or operating funds can be secured after the tax is assessed later this year,” Domurat said.
Changes during the adoption of the tax district spelled out roles the county manager and tax board will serve. The county manager has almost full operational control, though York County Council can override or call for decisions. Domurat said the decision to put the new recreation district an administrative function of the county can be a positive for the park.
“Changes in the ordinance to have the park managed by the county has afforded us the ability to move ahead more efficiently and with expected lower costs due to resources already in place within the county,” he said.
While a tax rate has not yet been set by the county, community organizers last year estimated it at well below the 10 mill max. Organizers estimated they could put a park with three baseball and three multipurpose fields, tennis and basketball courts, a playground, picnic area, disc golf course, walking trails and dog park on the ground for about half that amount.
The tax, they said, would be $20 per $100,000 in property value for homeowners, or $30 per $100,000 for business and rentals.
To apply to serve on the recreation tax board, go to yorkcountysc.iqm2.com/Citizens/Board/ and scroll down to the Lake Wylie boards.