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I would like to respond to the article published in the newspaper concerning the incorporation of Indian Land.
We moved here from New York after being taxed out of our home by the state, county, school district and city. Everybody wants a piece of you.
We looked at other states and areas in the South. We finally found an area here in Lancaster County that we couldn’t believe. Low taxes, low power bills and a beautiful place to live out our lives.
Now we see there is a group that is not satisfied with things as they are. They want to do something about the haphazard development of the U.S. 521 corridor. As a former member of our local planning department, I agree with them. When you see the way businesses are located along U.S. 521, it is evident that zoning and planning needs to be addressed.
I think it would be much easier and less expensive if that group would spend more of their effort going to the county zoning and planning meetings and making their feelings known to elected officials. That’s why they are there. They have the legal authority to impose new restrictions in planning and zoning.
I don’t think anyone at the county level is there to harm our community.
Getting our area incorporated would be just the beginning of a long and costly process. I can’t begin to guess what the legal cost would be to bring it that far, but again, that is just the beginning.
Once we become a city, we will have to elect a mayor or city executive, probably at a cost of around $80,000. He will need an assistant and a secretary at a cost of another $80,000. We will have to elect five or seven council members, at a cost of around $15,000 each. To keep track of everybody, we will need a city clerk at around $30,000. We will also need a legal department at whatever they feel like charging. Next, we will need a comptroller with several assistants to keep track of the money, at around $150,000. We will need an auditor and a few clerks to check on the comptroller at a cost of another $150,000. We will also need an assessor with clerical help for another $120,000. Let’s not forget the building department, headed by a qualified engineer, at probably $90,000. He will have at least three building inspectors at a cost of $40,000 each.
We will also need public safety officials, including a police chief, assistant police chief and so on down the line. The same with the fire department. Many of these officials will have to be provided with vehicles, insurance, gas and other vehicle costs. Let’s not forget about a complete public works department, including vehicles, because Lancaster County will no longer fill our potholes or pave our streets.
Everybody above will insist on health insurance and a retirement plan. Many will have to be bonded.
Now that we have all of these employees, where are they going to work? Yes, we will have to build a city hall, at a cost of $1 million to $2 million.
This money will not come from the tooth fairy or the state of South Carolina. It will come from our increased taxes.
I feel that we are being looked after and governed very well by the professionals in Lancaster County.
I, for one, would like to give a piece of advice my father gave me: “If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.”
Jim Maltais is an Indian Land resident.