The real source

In Brian Hicks’ column Friday, two Charleston County Council members are referred to as suggesting that the source of funds for the one-time cost-of-living adjustment to be paid to county employees was a property tax increase.

This is not true, and I would like to set the record straight.

In the current budget, council actually decreased the level of taxation for homeowners and maintained the level of taxation for our businesses.

Charleston County budgets 100 percent of the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) revenues as credits against local property taxes.

As a result of an increase in the LOST credit, council was able to reduce the FY 2014 net tax bill for the homeowner, even though the property tax rate increased by 0.8 mills.

This minor millage increase was not used for the one-time COLA payments.

The source of funds for the one-time payments was money saved from prior years’ budgets.

According to the county’s financial policies, these savings (one-time funds) are only to be used for one-time expenses, not recurring expenses. There are no recurring funds available to sustain a permanent pay increase.

It should be noted that the administrator and a study committee made up of countywide elected officials, Charleston County Council members and staff will be presenting a new salary structure system to council after the first of the year.

Following the implementation of that new system, we will conduct a market study to compare our salaries to the public and private marketplace.

As always, council will continue to balance providing quality services at reasonable costs while paying employees fairly.

TEDDIE E. PRYOR SR.

Chairman

Charleston County Council Bridge View Drive

North Charleston

Alternative view

I generally enjoy David Quick’s articles on health and sports. I was surprised and saddened to read his recent article stereotyping conservatives as being anti-alternative energy. This is a mischaracterization of the facts.

Conservatives are simply against wasting taxpayer money on ill-conceived projects such as Solyndra and the battery company, A123.

Solyndra received $535 million from federal tax coffers, and California gave it another $100 million in grants before it went bankrupt.

In the case of A123, the Obama administration gave the company $249 million, and Massachusetts gave it another $100 million in grants and tax breaks. Within two years it laid off 123 workers. In both cases, the owners who made the deals walked away with millions of dollars, and we taxpayers paid for it.

David Quick may not know that when George W. Bush was governor of Texas, the state generated more wind energy than the rest of the country combined.

He also may not realize that Ted Kennedy, one of the most liberal Democrats of the last 30 years, fought vociferously against Cape Wind using over $2 billion in private money to build wind turbines off Cape Cod, Mass.

David mentioned Sarah Palin’s “Drill, baby, drill.” She turned out to be right. Despite efforts by the federal government to slow the process, our recent drilling has allowed America to become a major exporter of oil and natural gas. Many businesses that depend on cheap energy are moving their operations to the U.S. because of this. We are quickly becoming energy independent, which certainly improves our national security.

Many conservatives have fought to build the Keystone Pipeline, and many liberals have fought against it, despite the fact that it will improve our economy, create jobs and increase our national security.

David Bourgeois

Chucker Drive

Summerville

True Southern fare

On Nov. 10 a letter writer disagreed with Hanna Raskin’s review of Jestine’s.

I’ve only lived here two years and am originally from Minnesota, but as a travel writer for over 20 years I have eaten more meals around the world than I care to remember.

I would invite that letter writer to my house for real Southern food in portions that are sized for humans, not birds.

We took some visiting friends to Jestine’s (against my wishes), and after we left, highly disappointed and less a great deal of money, I fixed them a real meal at home.

Many places claim to serve authentic “Southern” or real anything to play on tourists. This is not a problem unique to Charleston. It occurs in any area that draws large crowds of visitors.

Hanna Raskin is refreshing in her reporting, as are all the food writers and reviewers at The Post and Courier.

Mary E. Gallagher

Turnmill Drive

Goose Creek