In In the News

Greenville County has faced unprecedented growth in the past decade, with another 200,000 projected to move here by 2040. This growth has brought economic development and revitalization, but it’s also brought its challenges. On the surface it seems more people means more tax revenue, but with sprawling growth providing services becomes more expensive. It also means more residents are being served. This, along with infrastructure strains, declining revenues, and inflation paints a grim picture.

We have not adjusted millage in our County for 28 years, even with the massive change in the Consumer Price Index. This is a feat in a growing economy that put most of this expense onto new residents, however after so long that equation has become unbalanced. As the need for more services, predominantly in Public Safety such as Emergency Services like EMS and the Sheriff’s Office has grown so has our cost. Currently 83% of the County budget goes toward compensation for the hundreds of staff members employed at Greenville County, one of the largest employers in our area. Without competitive pay they face losing employees to nearby municipalities or counties.

Additionally, costs of living have grown incredibly fast in the past five years, most notably in the housing market post Covid. Currently, 80% of people in the Greenville County Market are priced out of buying a home. Many homes in the area have more than doubled in the past five years and in some areas of the County rents have risen 20%, often these payments are higher than the average mortgage in Greenville County. Many are also facing childcare costs that are at an all-time as well as food costs. The math equation simply does not work any longer. Our County employees feel this and our community feels this. In the proposed budget over $5 million over two years has been allocated to housing affordability. It’s the first time the County has allocated local dollars to this effort. This investment is necessary to preserve housing affordability for those in our community facing higher rents but also those who need home repairs to make sure they can age in place. While this is only 6% of the budget it’s a start, and the precedent it sets is an important one. Additionally, the budget supports infrastructure improvements, mobility, and preserving green space. All of these efforts were identified as critical needs and areas of importance to our residents in the County Comprehensive Plan and this budget speaks directly to those priorities that came from our County’s citizens over dozens of meetings and thousands of respondents. For only $44 annually per $100,000 of assessed value of your home we can get back on track and out of the red, balancing our budget as a County as we grow while maintaining the same level of quality service. This takes leadership to do. It’s not an easy thing to adjust millage after 28 years of neglect while all others have continued this trend, all special purpose tax districts, as well as the school district. That being said, what is easy and what is right are seldom the same. We have been good stewards for 28 years and to continue to be good stewards and maintain our services, and keep our employees employed and serving our community this adjustment is necessary.

In order to keep Greenville County safe, vibrant, and thriving we need to ensure our public servants are supported, and our community can afford to live here, or the quality of life that we so regularly tout will be diminished.

We ask you reach out to your council member and voice your support. In addition to this we ask you to SHOW UP June 6th at County Council Chambers at 6pm, earlier 4:30-5 if you can speak. It’s just three minutes and could make a big difference in supporting our County!

Greenville Housing Fund