Creating the Town of Indian Land is a complicated process and our conversations with thousands of panhandle residents have led to this list of our frequently asked questions.
Q: Who are Voters for a Town of Indian Land?
A: We are simply neighbors who are volunteering for our community. Our goal is to allow those who reside in Indian Land the opportunity to create its future.
Q: What do you have to gain? What is your motivation?
A: We have nothing to gain in this effort - there is no money in it for us and there is no political gain for our members. We set out to revive the incorporation effort because we are too big to not have a voice in how our area is managed. Indian Land has a minority voice on the county council and it will remain that way even after the next census. Indian Land is very different from the rest of the county and what might be a good solution for the county is not always a good solution for Indian Land. We are motivated to give local control to Indian Land so that we may plan and manage our growth properly.
Q: Why do we need to create the Town of Indian Land?
A: Today Indian land makes up 10% of the county geographically, but 60% of the tax base for Lancaster county. In exchange, we have only a 2 person say on the 7-person county council. The majority of the population has a minority say on our community. The Indian Land panhandle is one of the FASTEST GROWING AREAS IN THE UNITED STATES! Lancaster County has proven they either cannot or will not manage the growth in this area. We want to make the area look pretty and control the unmanaged growth that has delivered massive traffic problems and overburdened schools.
By having a town, we control the zoning and building. We can demand wider setbacks off the road and more trees. We can make rules about how many homes a developer can try and squeeze into a new subdivision (which will heavily influence the ever-growing traffic and school problem).
Q: Why were people saying not to sign the petition?
A: There is a group that refuses to show any of their names who has been spreading blatant lies about the effort to create the Town of Indian Land. Don’t believe people who won’t come out of the shadows.
Q: Where does the process go from here?
A: Essentially, there are 4 steps...
1) We gather petition signatures from at least 15% of the proposed incorporation area. - DONE! Thank you!
2) We submit the signatures with the Town of Indian Land incorporation package to the state. DONE! Thank you!
3) A special election is scheduled and Indian Land residents ONLY get to vote on the Town of Indian Land incorporation. Our proposal has been approved by the State of South Carolina! Thank you!
4) If it passes, another election is held for our town council.
Q: How will a Town of Indian Land help with schools?
A: Schools will continue to be managed by Lancaster County School District. However, the primary challenge with the schools in Indian Land has been overcrowding and not enough facilities. When Harrisburg Elementary opened it was at capacity on its first day and now has trailers. Even though the recent school bond passed to expand our schools, if we don’t control the root cause (GROWTH) we could be at capacity before those schools open in 2-3 years. The county has proven that when considering approvals for new developments in Indian Land they’ve failed to work with Lancaster County School District (a separate entity) and as a result have not managed the growth in Indian Land.
An Indian Land Town Council will give us the voice we need to control growth and coordinate better with those groups who manage our schools.
Q: How will a Town of Indian Land help with roads and traffic?
A: Many of the council members in Lancaster never make their way up to Indian Land and have admitted as such. They aren’t concerned about our traffic or roads, because they do not have to travel them. While roads will continue to be handled by county or state entities, a town of Indian Land will have a voice loud enough to be heard on these issues. By controlling building and zoning, we can make sure developers adequately account for the impacts of their new developments. In addition, the money they pay for the rights to develop, stays in Indian Land and doesn’t flow back to the county to be used where they see fit.
Q: How will a Town of Indian Land control growth?
A: Decisions on development agreement would be made by locally elected citizens of Indian Land, people with a vested interest in our community because they live, work and worship here too. By controlling building, zoning and planning, we’d set the development guidelines that ensure that any new construction takes into account the concerns of the people of Indian Land. The county has openly admitted they don’t have the resources to enforce the ordinances in place, and this has allowed builders to skip steps and not meet their commitments. A new council would have the authority to impose a building moratorium similar to what Fort Mill has done.
Q: What about police and fire?
A: Our budget increases our number of police officers significantly and enhances all the fire stations in Indian Land. Anyone suggesting that a Town of Indian Land would hurt those services is either woefully misinformed or trying to scare you. Today we have an all-volunteer fire department. At a recent town hall meeting a Sheriff’s deputy said that if there is a fire in the day time when the volunteer force works, he is fighting fire. This is a safety and property issue, especially as Indian Land has new business and a hotel coming soon.
Also today Indian Land pays more for the Sheriff’s services in the county because we have more people. The sheriff’s deputy also stated that despite this, more of the Sheriff’s department is deployed south of us, because despite the smaller population they have more crime. How is fair that we pay more to subsidize higher crime outside our community?
Q: How is this group qualified to lead a new town?
A: Despite false claims by unnamed groups, the incorporation group does not become the town council. After the vote to incorporate is approved, a second vote to elect our first 5 council members then takes place.
Q: Why has VTIL started an Non-Profit Corporation?
A: VTIL formed an Non-Profit Corporation for two primary reasons. First it gives the group a legal standing which come with legal requirements for which we can be held accountable. This makes sure that everything we do is above board and transparent. Second the group need to be able to collect donations to fund things like the initial vote and other aspects of the effort. An Non-Profit provides a legally accountable entity for this as well.
Q: Why don’t you publish all this information on Facebook or social media?
A: This group maintains TownofIndianLand.org which has all the details of this plan and a contact page for groups or individuals to reach out and connect. Demand has been overwhelming to know more, and as an all-volunteer group it’s not possible to be responsive to every Facebook thread. Instead we’ve opted for a more personal experience, working with HOAs, PTO groups and residents directly to have a direct meaningful conversation about the facts around incorporation.
Q: How close are you to collecting enough signature, what’s the timeline? -DONE! Thank you!
A: There are roughly 21,000 registered voters in the future town of Indian Land, so we needed to collect about 3200 signatures. We have past the required goal. We are looking to have a referendum in 2017.
Q: How does the new UDO impact the Town of Indian Land effort?
A: The new UDO is another attempt by the county to suddenly make amends now that an effort to crate the Town of Indian Land is under way. The fact remains that Indian Land is a rapidly growing urban community, and isn’t represented well by a council used to rural development and challenges. The new UDO, while not finalized, allows for INCREASED density in the north of the pan handle. This will do nothing but increase the stress on local infrastructure, without any plan to address it, the opposite of what we need.
Q: Will my taxes go up?
A: Yes, but only a tiny bit…. AND South Carolina state law caps any future increases to 3% per year. So, with our plan, a $250,000 house would pay less than $122 PER YEAR in additional property taxes…. AND that could only be raised by about $4.50 the next year (if it needed to be raised at all). In addition, incorporation costs less than the recent school bond that passed.
Q: Are those taxes are too low to fund a town?
A: Indian Land is the cash cow of the county. In fact, the property tax income we cite is less than 1/3 of our projected town revenue. The real money is in the Local Option Sales Tax that you are already paying today. If we incorporate, those millions of dollars stay here, rather than going to the county.
Copyright © Voters for a Town of Indian Land. All rights reserved.
By Indian Land. For Indian Land.