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News Release

Statement from Hilton Head Island Mayor John McCann and Town Manager Steve Riley - Town of Hilton Head Island Objects to Action by Beaufort County Council to Impose Uniform Service Fee

Release Date: August 25, 2020

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

On Monday, August 24, the Beaufort County Council voted to impose a uniform law enforcement service charge for the Town of Hilton Head Island. This charge would generate surplus revenue for Beaufort County on top of the approximately $52,000,000 that it already receives annually from Hilton Head Island taxpayers.

We vehemently object to this charge, which would mean Hilton Head Island residents would have to pay additional fees beyond what their households are already assessed for the same level of law enforcement services that Beaufort County and the Beaufort County Sheriff are constitutionally required to provide.

As such, we are considering legal action to block implementation and collection of this new service charge to protect Island residents from having to pay this illegal and unconscionable fee.

In our opinion, this is an unfair move on the part of Beaufort County Council and its Administration to collect more money for services our residents already pay for with their tax dollars. The Town has and will continue to maintain its financial support for the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office and the excellent stand-alone services it receives. In its operating budget, the Town of Hilton Head Island provides direct reimbursement for beach enforcement, bar patrol, enhanced security services at the Heritage Golf Tournament, additional housing stipends for sheriff's deputies to allow them to live on the Island, and free centrally located office space to ensure quick response to the community.

We are disappointed that our County leaders have taken this step rather than consider other ways to equitably provide services for our residents.

While we are supremely disappointed in these actions, there are a number of projects and services that we working on jointly with Beaufort County. These include the Mitchelville Preservation Park, the U.S. 278 Gateway Corridor Project, and the relocation of St. James Baptist Church. We will continue to work amicably on these projects and others, and toward a fair solution to ensure our citizens have the protection afforded to other municipalities throughout Beaufort County.