EASTOVER, SC (WIS) - Lake Dogwood recently became the fourth community in Richland County that voted to tax itself to rebuild a dam, bringing life back to Dogwood Lake.
Forty-nine of the community's 110 registered voters went to the polls, voting 33-15 to create a special taxing district. But a month later, those opposed are speaking out in hopes county council won't give the referendum its stamp of approval.
"It's not about not fixing the lake, it's just about being fair to everyone," said Matthew Perkins.
Perkins saved for years to build his dream home a couple of streets over from the lake. Now complete, his home is one of the most expensive in his neighborhood, meaning he'd pay more in taxes to fix the lake he can't see from his property.
"I do not think it's fair for people living on the lake to pay an additional $800 in taxes, and I not live on the lake and pay an additional $2500. And I'm more concerned about 10 to 20 years down the road when I'm 60 or 70 years old, and I'm worrying about whether I should pay my taxes or buy my medicine or buy food," said Perkins.
But those behind the plan say the neighborhood already voted, and the decision was made.
"I don't think there's much difference between a flat tax and a tax based on the value of a home. The main thing the neighborhood should be looking at is let's put the lake back," said Monte Lemmon.
Lemmon says that decision was made with guidance from an attorney and county council.
"We missed the opportunity to do this last year and missed the deadline, or we would have done this last year like the other three communities. The other three communities are flat taxes because they are a subdivision. We're a rural neighborhood in the country. As such council nor Richland County Council felt like it would be right to charge a flat tax," said Lemmon.
County Council must have two more readings of the referendum and a public hearing before giving the it a final stamp of approval.
If passed, the homeowner's association says it could take nine months to build the dam back. The goal is to have the lake restored by next summer.