Charleston County Council is set to vote on a Tax Incremental Finance district (TIF) tonight at its 6:30 meeting at 4045 Bridge View Drive in North Charleston. The TIF was previously approved by Charleston City Council. The purpose of a TIF is to set aside property tax revenue within its boundaries to provide infrastructure improvements to spur future economic development.
This TIF is the first one covering West Ashley. It includes 155 parcels along 425 acres mostly on Sam Rittenberg Boulevard from Citadel Mall to the North Bridge. The infrastructure improvements would include intersection enhancements, adding left-turn lights, widening sidewalks, installing fiber optic cable, improving landscaping and upgrading drainage. Previous and existing TIFs have revitalized blighted areas in downtown Charleston, North Charleston and Mt. Pleasant. County Council and the Charleston County School Board must vote to opt-in to forgoing their share of the property tax revenue in the district for a 25-year period. That amounts to $526,000 per year for Charleston County.
Last Thursday, the Charleston County Council Finance Committee voted 5-4 in opposition to the TIF. Council members Dickie Schweers, Joe Qualey, Anna Johnson, Teddie Pryor and Henry Darby voted with the majority, while Herb Sass, Colleen Condon, Vic Rawle, and Chairman Elliott Summey supported the TIF. At least one vote from the majority would have to change for Charleston County to opt-in. The School Board will have to vote on the measure at a later date.