LETTER: Taxes and Property Rights
Beware of increased taxes and loss of property rights. There are certain groups in Laurens County that are trying to start zoning again as part of land use planning.
Land use planning can be good and necessary for development and progress. A study can indicate where to place utilities, roads, and recreation facilities in areas of growth. It can help a government plan orderly and valuable growth that can benefit and make an area progress and not infringe on any property rights. This can be done with well planned and enforced ordinances which Laurens County needs. Ordinances tell you how to put what you want on your property, but do not tell you what you have to put on your property. Thus, property owners still use their property as they want and not as the government tells them to use it. Therefore, property rights are preserved.
Ordinances do not require a new expensive bureaucracy nor do they discriminate against the hard working common citizens or the poor, less fortunate citizens. Ordinances can prevent undesirable mobile homes, landfills, businesses and houses from being built in the county. For example, with well designed home community ordinances, a rich, out of county land developer could not put up an undesirable residential development next to you. The developer would have to put in road curbing, paved roads, water and sewer lines according to codes plus put a buffer zone. For this to happen, some of present ordinances need to be improved.
The taxpayer would not be left with this expense as in some zoning situations. A home of your choice could be put on your property as long as you follow the ordinance. About 60% of business in Laurens County comes from agriculture and forestry. Zoning would be harmful to these industries because of more expensive regulations concerning what type of farming you can do on your own farm land (live stock, crops, forestry etc.).
Now, let’s look at the rich and powerful man’s instrument that takes advantage of the poor, working people. ZONING.
Zoning will tell you what you can and cannot put on your property and how to do it. It will be a new, costly bureaucracy that is appointed and not elected; will involve loss of property rights; and require legal expenses to change zoning. In 1987, the FBI started a new investigation department solely to investigate zoning practices in some local governments because zoning is the most corrupt part of local governments. To change zoning classification usually requires expensive legal action that the average man cannot afford, but the rich land developer can. Money and power control zoning.
Rich and powerful out of county people could buy land in the county, and, if we get zoning, they will control Laurens County land for their use and not for the county’s best interest. IF ZONING IS PUSHED ON LAURENS COUNTY COUNCIL, THE PEOPLE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO VOTE ON ZONING IN ORDER TO PRESERVE THEIR PROPERTY RIGHTS, PREVENT INCREASED TAXES AND THE FORMING OF A NEW BUREAUCRACY. The last time zoning was voted on in Laurens County, 70% WERE AGAINST ZONING AND 30% WERE FOR IT. Most of our County Council and employees are looking out for our best interests. We have some young blood as well as older wisdom on our council, a new administrator and new public works administrator now and a new start. Let’s look to the future with our eyes on progress, property rights for the average person, less bureaucracy and less taxes.
How can we do this? Let’s look at some mistakes that costs Laurens prosperity.
- Laurens County lost having the main campus of Piedmont Tech located here in Laurens because of a disagreement between elected officials.
- Greenville County gets the school taxes in the upper most industrialized rich part of the county because of politics. We should make every effort to get our taxes back from Greenville rather than fight for zoning. These taxes would probably equal District 56’s budget.
- Laurens County lost our hospital to Greenville because of improper leadership.
- We lost our home town bank headquarters because of decisions made. That was 180 jobs that went to Greenville and a $12 million headquarters now located there and the bank’s home office is now out of state.
- In 1979, a county wide water system was planned, but was stopped because of political disagreement about it. Greenwood, on the other hand, got a water system supplied from Lake Greenwood and has progressed.
What would help Laurens County?
- One water and sewer system for the county with water from Lake Greenwood. Industry follows the utilities, four land roads, and railroads. Industry goes where they can buy land that suits their needs and not where zoning departments tell them that they are permitted to go.
- Combine all the services in the county together cutting down on expenses.
- Promote and provide good technical education in the county to supply employees that industry needs.
- Advertise, advertise, advertise the county to let industry know about what the county has to offer. Use the money that may be wasted on zoning to advertise.
- For progress, encourage the county to pull together ... not pulling against each other, town against town, or one area or that area, pulling for itself instead of for the good of all. This is why other counties have progressed around Laurens County. They have one major city in each county and have pulled together as a county. Until we work together, no planning or zoning will make Laurens County progress. If you do not want to increase your taxes and lose your property rights, call your County Council representative at the below numbers: County Council Members:
Kemp Younts, 862-2029 district 1
Joe Wood, 861-2256 district 2
Garrett McDaniel, 984-5214 district 3
Brown Patterson, 872-0805 district 4
Jeff Carroll, 876-9655 district 5
Diane Anderson, 984-5738 district 6
David Pitts, 984-5214 district 7.
Byron H. Brown, DDS
(NOTE: the normal 450 word limit for letters was waived in the case of this letter - Editor.)