Both West Columbia and Cayce introduced measures at their June 3 meetings that will increase service fees and some taxes for residents.
West Columbia City Council gave first-reading approval to a 15 percent increase in water and sewer service fees. The plan would add $3.65 to the bimonthly bill for the typical homeowner and $6.99 for those who live outside the community. It would be the first raise in such rates in three years.
The proposed general fund budget for West Columbia, which is balanced at $12.8 million, does not include a millage increase.
Cayce City Council gave initial approval to a new hospitality tax and a measure that will increase the fee homeowners pay for waste pickup.
The hospitality tax would add two cents to a dollar’s purchase on restaurant dining and takeout foods. It would pay for operation of the local museum and upkeep of the Riverwalk along the Congaree River, freeing other money that city officials say is needed to pay for services.
The tax hike would be accompanied by an increase in the residential trash collection fee, doubling it to $9 per month.
Chapin Council Seeks Mediation
At the June 3 meeting Chapin Town Council meeting Mayor Skip Wilson and the town’s council members appeared to agree on attending mediation sessions to address a multitude of disagreements that have arisen over the last few months.
The meeting was still a contentious affair as council members complained to Wilson about how he conducts meetings. The mayor also came under fire from attorney David Knight, who said the town has not paid for his services for months.
But the mutual interest in mediating their differences appeared to be a step forward for a town council mired in controversy for months.
“The council has experienced challenges in getting along,” Wilson said in his presentation of the mediation proposal. “We have had problems addressing issues. It seems like we can’t do this on our own.
While most of the council members appeared receptive to the mayor’s suggestion to seek mediation, some felt that certain conditions apply, such as the presence of legal counsel.
The mediation would be provided by the Midlands Mediation Center, a committee that operates in partnership with the United Way of the Midlands.
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