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News Release

Hilton Head Island Town Council Approves Funding Proposal to Submit to Beaufort County for Services

Release Date: July 22, 2020

Contact Information:
Carolyn Grant email icon , Communications Director, 843-341-4618

A new three-year agreement the Hilton Head Island Town Council approved on Tuesday will give the Town more control over maintaining County-owned parks and roads on the Island and resolve some funding issues for the Beaufort County Sheriff's Department (BCSO).

The proposal was sent to the Beaufort County Council on Wednesday in the wake of myriad discussions between the County and Town. If accepted by Beaufort County, all of the recommendations in the proposal would be effective for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21), which began July 1, 2020.

"Hilton Head Island citizens pay a higher share of taxes for law enforcement and other County services than any other municipality in Beaufort County," said Town Manager Stephen G. Riley. Because of the substantial property tax contributions that it provides, Town Council proposed eliminating additional voluntary funding for law enforcement services, requiring the County to rely on existing tax dollars. Instead, the County proposed assessing higher taxes on Island residents.

"While we believe that any special fee that the County could propose would be unconstitutional and thus unenforceable, we would rather reach an agreement on these matters to save taxpayers money and ultimately better serve the residents of Hilton Head Island," Riley said.

Additionally, Riley noted, this agreement helps bring maintenance of County-owned parks and roads on the Island under the Town's jurisdiction. "We have struggled with this for more than 20 years. I believe with this arrangement, we can manage the upkeep of our parks and roads for the betterment of our community," he said.

The new agreement would allocate $2 million annually for BCSO services, including Victim Services and the Detention Center, provide rent-free office space to the BCSO Southern Division, and continue providing stipends to deputies.

The Town would be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the County-owned Barker Field and the Town-County owned Hilton Head Park, and assume basic maintenance and repair to County-owned roads within the Town Limits. It also would absorb the County's support of the Island Recreation Center programs and activities  with the exception of youth swimming lesson programs.