The Town of James Island levies a 17.9 mil property tax. The Town provides a 100% Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) credit against its property tax so that the Town's millage imposes no added burden on Town property taxpayers. Municipalities with no property tax millage may be subject to legal challenge regarding the receipt of monthly distributions by the South Carolina Treasurer from the LOST Property Tax Credit Fund. By levying a millage and providing a LOST credit, the Town is protected from legal challenge by remaining in full compliance with the South Carolina Code.
The James Island Public Service District (JIPSD) is independent of the Town. It provides fire protection, solid waste collection, and wastewater collection in the Town and the unincorporated area of James Island. To fund fire protection and solid waste collection, in 2022, the JIPSD levied a property tax of 60 mils in the Town and the unincorporated area. The JIPSD Commissioners, elected at-large by the voters of the Town and the unincorporated area, are responsible for setting their millage. Other government entities collecting property tax in the Town include Charleston County and Charleston County Schools.
In 2019, the Town and JIPSD signed an historic cost sharing agreement. The Town is helping the JIPSD pay for fire protection and solid waste collection for our residents. In exchange, the JIPSD has agreed to allow the Town to provide an additional credit against the JIPSD property tax. The credit appeared on the 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 property tax bills.
On the October 2022 Charleston County Consolidated Property tax bill, the cost share credit was $70 for every $100,000 of taxable appraised value (.0007.) For an average James Island home worth $300,000, the property tax saving is $210. For a Town homeowner, this is a 34% saving in the amount paid to the JIPSD and an overall 13% reduction in the property tax bill. Property taxes are also reduced on vehicles, commercial and rental property, and personal property such as boats.
The amount of the credit depends on the amount of money Town Council appropriates each year to help pay for fire protection and solid waste collection. In 2022, Town Council appropriated $1,270,000. This is divided by the total appraised value of the taxable property in the Town. The credit for the property tax billed in October 2023 will be determined by the $1,284,000 cost share approved by Town Council as part of the 2023-24 annual budget.