School Board Chairman Calls On Council To Honor The Voice Of The People

Dillon County Board of Education Chairman Richard Schafer has sent the following letter to Dillon County Council in regards to the second budget process. He calls on council to honor the voice of the people.

To: The Dillon County
CC:Rodney Berry, Alan
Berry, The Dillon Herald
From:Richard H. Schafer
Date: August 16, 2017
Subject:Second Budget
Process of the
2017-2018 Budget

I, because County Council refused to hear or allow legitmate participation by myself and others in its July 28, 2017 budget meeting, now find it necessary and proper to use this press release to say what I believe needs to be said to County Council and the voters regarding Council’s 2017-2018 budget.
The Council through its prior hearings and upcoming hearings is attempting to usurp 50% of Local Option Sales Tax funds provided to the Board of Education for nearly 20 years and in so doing undermine a pact it made with the voters in 1995. The issue before us is whether the Dillon County Board of Education will continue to receive half of the funds generated by the Local Option Sales Tax established by the November 7, 1995 referendum vote of the Dillon County electorate. On November 2, 1995, there appeared in the Dillon Herald a document furnished by the Dillon County Council titled “FACTS ABOUT THE LOCAL OPTION SALES TAX” reminding the citizens of Dillon County of the November 7, 1995 vote and encouraging their participation. FACT # 9 states: “The County part of the distribution will be divided equally between the County and the County School Board with all proceeds being used for building replacement or repair only.” FACT # 10 states: “The County and schools will use the funds for buildings only and not for administration growth of government”!
The final paragraph of page 13 of the Dillon County Audit for fiscal year ended June 30, 1997 consistently notes that “Upon enactment of the Local Option Sales Tax, Dillon County Council reached an agreement with the Dillon County Board of Education to divide the Revenue Fund Local Option Sales Tax Revenue evenly with the County Board of Education.” Monies pursuant to this agreement have been going to the Dillon County School System since 1996 – i.e. twenty consecutive years.
By letter of June 30, 2017, Dillon County Council notified the County Treasurer that at a special called meeting of June 30th the County Council adopted a budget that called for the County Council to keep “the total amount of the Local Option Sales Tax of +/- $600,000” with none of it to be shared with the Dillon County Schools. This blatant money grab is in total and shameful disregard of the wishes of the qualified electors of Dillon County as manifested by their adoption of an additional sales and use tax in Dillon County via referendum pursuant to Act No. 317 of 1990. It is simply not within the purview of County Council’s authority to disregard and annul the vote of the sovereign people.
We now call on the Dillon County Council to do its duty to honor the voice of the people to share and share alike the funds generated by the Local Option Sales Tax. These funds have been applied and pledged to the repayment of the $60,000,000 Phase 1 and 2 School Building Projects Debit Service Account, not General Fund accounts. Debt repayment must come from a guaranteed source of revenue, such as the Local Option Sales Tax Funds.
Unless the Dillon County Council has no respect for the voice of the people, it will act promptly to resume sharing evenly the proceeds of the Local Option Sales Tax funds with the Dillon County Board of Education.
Council Members owe a duty to uphold their word to the voters, the Council’s current course of action ignores that most high constituent duty.
Richard Schafer, Chairman,
Dillon Co. Bd. of Education

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