Dear Property Owners,
I want to thank all of you who have written to my Chairman’s email with comments and concerns about the Board’s recent actions. While I have tried to respond to each of you individually in the past, the number of emails I’ve recently received has, sadly, made that impossible. Please accept my weekly letters as a substitute for now.
The Board of Directors genuinely appreciates the level of response and feedback received over the past few weeks related to our proposal for the creation of a Sea Pines Special Tax District. In response to last week’s letter, we have received a great deal of enthusiasm for pursuing the available referendum alternative as a means to secure funding for our community. The Board continues to read each and every email and uses your feedback to drive our decisions related to Sea Pines.
This week, I am addressing three top questions related to the creation of a Sea Pines Special Tax District:
- How will the anticipated $3-4 million raised per year be spent to improve our community? All funds raised through the Sea Pines Special Tax District will be earmarked specifically for projects within Sea Pines that are permitted by law, with our first priority being the repair or replacement of our failing drainage system. These projects have been identified by CSA as the top priority and they must be addressed as such.
- How much will the County encroach upon the historic operations of Sea Pines and the CSA? Rumors persist that implementation of a special tax district would allow Beaufort County Council to open our beach access to the public and even to require us to remove our gates. Others suggest that the County Council would ignore our request to appoint CSA’s officers as the governing body and instead install independent leadership. There is simply no reason to believe that the County Council would take this approach – and we are not aware of any situation where such action has occurred anywhere in the State. Further, the membership and appointment methodology for the governing body of the Special Tax District will be memorialized in the ordinance creating the Special Tax District, and CSA, acting through its legal counsel, will work closely with the County to ensure the proper constitution of the governing board.
- Clarification has also been requested on the process for collecting the funds for the Sea Pines Special Tax District. Upon application of the tax levy on the annual tax rolls, the funds will be collected and remitted by the Beaufort County Treasurer. Use of the funds will be administered by the governing board of the Special Tax District, which CSA fully intends will consist of the five governing officers of CSA. As public funds, the collected monies must be properly budgeted and publicly accounted for and reported. The receipt and expenditure of all funds, including the accounting reports therefor, will be subject to the provisions of the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act. Finally, expenditure of the money will be limited to the specific purposes recited in the approval petition and approved by the voters in the Special Tax District referendum. This strict oversight gives us the confidence and assurance that the funds will be spent how they were intended – addressing our community’s critical infrastructure needs.
As the Board works through the details of creating a Special Tax District, I encourage you to seek accurate information and avoid rumor and misinformation as you also continue to assess your views on these important matters. For example, contrary to concerns stated in several letters we’ve received, the Special Tax District petition has not yet been filed. Like other elements of this approach, it remains a work in progress.
We will continue to share information as it becomes available. We are updating weekly a list of frequently asked questions and answers at seapinesliving.com/specialtaxdistrict. If your question is not answered or to share additional feedback, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.