Betty Poore: What's New on the Charleston Coast Blog: Beach Funds for SC Beaches

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Beach Funds for SC Beaches

Right Course for Beach Funds

Sunday, January 27, 2008

So far so good for what state Sen. Chip Campsen describes as a "creative way" to finance beach renourishment at the Isle of Palms as well as four other beaches in the state that are rated as the most endangered. The senator's legislation, which passed its first crucial test last week, doesn't involve either state or federal taxpayer funding. Instead, his Beachfront Finance Act would allow the five beach communities rated as having the worst erosion problems to keep all of their locally-generated accommodations tax dollars at home rather than sharing them with other parts of the state.

The senator tells us that he came up with the idea after being contacted by Isle of Palms officials about introducing legislation aimed at making the public beach inside the gates of the Wild Dunes resort eligible for state and federal funding. Sen. Campsen tells us he has since advised island officials that the bill, which would make changes to the definition of public beach access, stands no chance of passing.

The senator tells us he had qualms about the first bill from the outset, but felt it was his duty as the senator from the area to try to assist with the island's critical erosion problem. Meanwhile, he said, he began considering other ways to help the island save its erosion-threatened northern end that includes the Wild Dunes properties. The result was the Beachfront Finance Act that got a unanimous nod from a Senate Finance subcommittee Tuesday. Basically, the bill removes the so-called "Robin Hood" provision from the state accommodations tax for the five beach communities that are rated as having the most critical erosion problem. That annual rating would be done by the state Office of Coastal Resource Management.

The state's accommodations tax has a complex "Robin Hood" formula that guarantees those counties with virtually no public accommodations a minimum rebate that comes from the "donor" counties that bring in the most funds. The Campsen legislation would allow the top five endangered beach communities to keep all of their accommodations tax to combat beach erosion. Sen. Campsen estimated that would mean an estimated $95,000 annually for the Isle of Palms. Those funds, he said, are critical to finance the proposed $2 million bond issue island officials hope to issue to deal primarily with the beach problem at Wild Dunes.

Sen. Campsen convincingly argues that it is only fair to allow the island communities that face the worse erosion problems to keep all the accommodations tax their facilities generate. To require those communities to share some of their funds with other counties would be equivalent to asking New Orleans to send some of the money it needs for hurricane relief elsewhere, he said.

The senator tells us that he was particularly encouraged by the reception the bill got from the subcommittee that was composed of Upstate senators, including some whose counties would lose some of the "Robin Hood" funds. He advised Isle of Palms Mayor Mike Sottille by letter that those senators "understood the dire predicament many coastal communities are in, and the equity contained in the bill." He also cautioned, however, that the legislation "still has a long way to go" before it becomes law.

The legislation certainly has equity on its side. Clearly the accommodations tax is an appropriate source of funding for beach renourishment since it is paid by those who come to visit the communities in question primarily because of their location and access to the water. Sen. Campsen now is on the right course.

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# posted by Betty Poore @ 2:44 PM

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About Betty Poore's Charleston Coast, SC Real Estate Website: The web site provides Charleston, Seabrook Island, Kiawah Island, Folly Beach, James Island, Sullivans Island, Isle of Palms, Dewees Island, Daniel Island, Mount Pleasant and the Charleston Coast, South Carolina real estate information and resources to guide homeowners, homebuyers and real estate investors through the process of selling and buying a house, condo or other realty property in the Charleston Coast area. Betty Poore Sometimes spelled as Bettye, Betti, Bettie, Bety, Beti, Betie, Poor, Pore, Porre, Pour, or Poure has services to help you get the best value for your Charleston Coast home and this website offers home buyers and home sellers a superior comparative market analysis (CMA), a way to view real estate and MLS IDX listings including virtual tours, prepare your home for sale, and more. Investors looking for real estate investment properties to invest in need look no farther. Anyone selling a home, buying a home or seeking housing can learn more about our realty services, and will appreciate working with a  Charleston Coast REALTOR who knows  the area so well. Through trusted partners, we also provide real estate and financial services to consumers looking for houses for sale or selling their home in Charleston Coast, SC, such as mortgages, credit history, new homes, foreclosures and other services. If you've already tried to go the for sale by owner (FSBO) route and find you are needing a partner who you can trust in the sale of your most precious asset, Betty Poore can take care of your special needs. It really doesn't matter if you spell it REALTOR, Realator or Realter, realty, realety or reality, real estate or realestate, Betty speaks  your language.
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