Address Information

An official address will be assigned by our department once we received either a “Permit to Construct” Septic Approval Letter from Department of Health & Environmental Control (DHEC) or a letter verifying sewer availability from the correct provider (BCWS, CPW or municipality) and a completed Zoning Use Approval form from Berkeley County Planning & Zoning.

Road names must be approved through our office. We will check any suggested road names to make sure it can be used and meets our criteria. You may call our office at (843) 719-4113 4113 or fax a list of road names to 843/719-4190 for approval. Road names remain on reserve for a three (3) year period once submitted and approved.

Once a road has been created, our office staff will go into the field and ride the road with our GPS unit. Once we return to our office, we will download the data into our computers. At that time, we will determine if additional landowners need to be contacted concerning the suggested road name. If additional landowners must be contacted, we must have 75% of the landowners agree with the suggested road name. Once the road name is accepted, our office will then complete the process of naming the street.

Our office does not regulate the naming of subdivisions. You may want to check with the Berkeley County Planning & Zoning Office to verify if they have any regulations concerning subdivision names.

New subdivisions have to be approved through the Planning & Zoning Office. Once final approval has been issued, the plats are then recorded in the Register of Deeds Office. Real Property Services Department receives the recorded plats from Register of Deeds and will begin assigning new TMS numbers. Once the new TMS numbers are assigned, the plats are forwarded to our office to be entered into the GIS system. Our staff will then begin the task of assigning new addresses. This entire process can take from 2 to 4 weeks.

Our office will be glad to assist you with address verification for Berkeley County. Information may be limited inside some municipalities because they handle their own addressing and our data will only be as accurate as the information we are provided.

We will try our best to provide you with directions for locations in Berkeley County.

Real Property Services assigns the TMS numbers for parcels after they receive the recorded plats from the Register of Deeds.

The recorded plats and deeds are maintained by the Berkeley County Register of Deeds Office.

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Auditor

The dealership collects your South Carolina Sales Tax and DMV fee. The bill you will receive is for the personal property taxes. Since the dealer is the only one who is able to purchase a license plate before the property taxes are paid; you will be given 120 days from your purchase date to pay your property taxes. If the property taxes are not paid at the end of the 120 day mark, your driver’s license may be suspended.

No taxes are due at the time of transfer. Just go to any DMV branch to transfer the tags. You will pay taxes on the vehicle when it is time for the tag to be renewed.

You may come in to apply or as a convenience to our taxpayers, the high mileage section on the front of your tax bill may be completed and faxed, emailed or mailed in for a corrected bill. You must be sure to apply before the last day of the month in which the tag expires.

You may apply for the Homestead Exemption any time after you reach the age of 65. The law states that you must be 65 on or before December 31st of the previous year in which you wish to claim the exemption. Since house taxes are billed in arrears; you won’t actually see the discount on your bill until the following year after you turn 65.

  • Appeal of Vehicle Taxes – You may appeal any property tax on your vehicle by contacting the Auditor’s Office. You can apply for a reduction of taxes based on high mileage or you may have a dealership give you a written appraised on the over all condition of the vehicle. You may print off the form on our web page to take to the dealer for this purpose. According to state law, this appeal must be done by the last day of the month in which the tag expires. If you miss this deadline, you cannot appeal your bill for that year.
  • Refund of Vehicle Taxes – If you sell a vehicle, you can surrender your tag and receive a refund on your taxes for the unused months. You must provide written proof of sale, which can be the following: copy of bill of sale from a private sale or dealer trade in or, copy of front and back of title signed over to new owner. You must also provide a receipt from the DMV showing the tags have been surrendered. If you move out of state, you can mail your South Carolina tag and proof of your registration in the new state to the Auditor’s Office to receive a refund for the unused months.
  • Motor Homes & Campers – Motor homes are taxed at the 6% tax rate. Campers are taxed at the 10.5% rate. You are now able to receive a lower tax rate on campers if you meet the qualifications of a primary resident which can be reduced to the 4% rate or use interest on your income tax as a second home which can be reduced to the 6% rate. There is a form on our web page to print, fill out and submit to our office to have the taxes lowered.
  • All marine equipment tax information is provided to us by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. By law, the Auditor’s office is required to tax from this information. Boats are taxed at 10.5% and are subject to a tax reduction if they are used as a primary resident, in which case taxes can be lowered to the 4% rate or if the interest is claimed on your income tax using as a second home the taxes can be lowered to the 6% rate. There is a form on our web page to print, fill out and submit to our office for approval and tax reduction. For any further questions you can contact the Department of Natural Resources at:
1000 Assembly Street
Rembert Dennis Bldg., Room 104
Columbia, SC 29202
803-734-3857
   or   217 Fort Johnson Road
Charleston, SC 29422
843-762-5000
  • All manufacturers, utility, fee-in-lieu agreements, property of merchants and certain businesses are required to file a return with the South Carolina Department of Revenue or the Berkeley County Auditor’s Office on all furniture, fixtures and unlicensed equipment. A return is mailed out each January and is to be filed by April 30th to avoid penalties. If you do not receive a Business Personal Property Return, please contact the Auditor’s Office.
  • Personal property such as cars, trucks, motorcycles, campers and motor homes are also billed yearly and are taxed a year in advance.
  • Temporary 45 Day License Tag – A person who newly acquires a vehicle may purchase a 45-day temporary tag from a South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles branch office.
  • If you are moving into the state of South Carolina and want to register your motor vehicle, you must first pay property taxes on the vehicle. Bring or fax a copy of your title or registration card to the Auditor’s Office, and a tax bill will be prepared based on the value of the vehicle. After the taxes are paid, the paid receipt must be taken to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles along with your out of state title and insurance information in order to obtain a South Carolina license tag and title. You have 45 days to register your vehicle.
  • What do I do if I move to Berkeley County from another county in SC?
    You will need to bring, fax,email or mail a copy of your current SC vehicle registration and proof of your Berkeley County address to the Auditor’s office to have a tax bill created. After paying your taxes at the Treasurer’s office, you will need to take your paid tax receipt to the DMV. At the DMV you will pay your tag renewal fee if it is due, and they will issue your new registration and sticker.
  • If you purchased a vehicle from an individual, the property taxes must be paid before you can register the vehicle. A copy of the title or bill of sale must be presented to or faxed to the Auditor’s Office and a tax bill will be prepared. The paid tax receipt must be taken to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, along with your bill of sale and insurance information in order to obtain a South Carolina license plate and title. You have 45 days to register your vehicle.
  • If you purchased a vehicle from a dealership, the dealer may pick up the new tags for you from the Department of Motor Vehicles before you are required to pay your property taxes. You will pay the dealer South Carolina Sales Tax and registration fees. By law, the Department of Motor Vehicles will provide the vehicle information to the Auditor’s Office. You will receive a Property Tax Bill which must be paid within 120 days of the date of purchase. If the taxes are not paid by the 120 day mark; your driver’s license will be suspended.
  • At the time of purchasing a vehicle, you may prefer to transfer a license plate if the vehicle being purchased is in the same name. You will not be taxed on the new vehicle until it is time for the tag to be renewed. If the dealer is to transfer the tag and it has less than 4 months left on it; you might prefer to purchase a new tag as it will give you a longer time to pay the taxes on the new vehicle.
Changes of address at any office other than the ones below could result in tax bills being mailed to the incorrect address.

Personal Property

  • Vehicles: You must change your name or address with SCDMV at scdmvonline.com or 1-803-896-5000.
  • Watercraft: You must change your name or address with DNR at dnr.sc.gov or 843-953-9301.
  • Aircraft: You must change your name or address with FAA registry at registry.faa.gov or 1-866-762-9434.
  • Documented Vessels: You must change your name or address with the US Coast Guard at uscg.mil/nvdc or 1-800-799-8362.
  • Merchant accounts: You must change your name or address with DOR at dor.sc.gov or 1-803-898-5000.
  • Business Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment accounts: For a Berkeley County Business Personal Property Return, (County Jurisdiction Form 96) you must change your name or address with the Berkeley County Auditor’s Office at webaud@berkeleycountysc.gov or 843-719-4309. For a SC State Business Personal Return, (State Jurisdiction Form PT100) you must contact the SC Department of Revenue at 803-898-5222.

Motor Vehicles
According to State Law, you must notify the SCDMV (SC Department of Motor Vehicles) of any change of address.
The Auditor’s office uses records provided by the SCDMV to generate vehicle property tax bills and where to mail your tax bill.
An incorrect address on file with the SCDMV could result in paying the wrong tax amount. It can also cause a delay in receiving your renewal registration and decal for your license plate.
Watercraft
According to State Law, you must notify SCDNR (SC Department of Natural Resources) to register your newly acquired boat.
The Auditor’s Office uses records on file with SCDNR to determine which tax district you reside in and where to mail your tax bill.
An incorrect address on file with SCDNR could result in the incorrect tax amount being paid. This could delay the registration renewal process.

How do property taxes work?
There are three parts to the property tax system:

  • The Tax Rate – This amount is usually reflected in the mills or millage rate.
  • Assessment Ratio – The percentage of the property’s value that is subject for taxation according to South Carolina State Law.
  • Fair Market Value – A reasonable amount for which property can be sold to a willing buyer.

What does the term Assessment Ratio mean?
Assessment Ratio is the percentage of your property’s value which is subject for taxation. The South Carolina Constitution provides for the following ratios to be applied to the market or use the value of property to arrive at the assessed value:

  • Home (legal residence) 4%
  • Second Home (for any residential property where you do not live) 6%
  • Agriculture real property (private owned) 4%
  • Agriculture real property (corporate owned) 6%
  • Commercial real property 6%
  • Manufacturing real and personal property 10.5%
  • Utility real and personal property 10.5%
  • Railroads, pipelines 9.5%
  • Aircraft 6%
  • Watercraft 10.5%
  • Business Personal Property 10.5%
  • Vehicles 6%

When is my payment considered late if mailed?

  • The postmark must be no later than the date due to avoid a late penalty.
  • If the due date should fall on a weekend or a holiday, the due date would be the following business day.

To whom do I dispute my vehicle tax amount to?
There are three ways to dispute your vehicle tax bill:

  • Vehicle Taxes – You may appeal any vehicle property tax on your vehicle by contacting the Auditor’s Office. You may apply for a reduction of taxes based on a dealership giving you a written appraisal (complete with the vehicle’s make, model, year, and vin number) signed and dated by a manager. According to State Law, this appeal must be done by the last day of the month in which the tag expires. If you miss this deadline, you cannot appeal your tax bill for that year.
  • High Mileage – The high mileage section on the tax bill may be completed and faxed, emailed, mailed or brought into the office for an updated bill. You must apply before the last day of the month in which the tag expires.
  • Car Dealership Purchase – These bills may only be appealed by the bill of sale or buyers order. The sticker or cash price (rebates cannot be included) must be less that the appraised value on your bill. According to State Law, this appeal must be done by the 120-day mark from the date of purchase of the vehicle. If you miss this deadline, you cannot appeal your bill until the renewal year.

What is personal property tax?
Personal property is all things other than real estate which have value. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, campers, and motor homes are taxed yearly in the same month they were originally registered at the SCDMV. Marine equipment, aircraft, and items used in a business such as furniture, fixtures and equipment are also taxed yearly, but are taxed based on ownership as of December 31st of the previous year.
When are personal property taxes due?

  • Real estate, marine equipment, aircraft, and items used in a business such as furniture, fixtures and equipment are billed in arears and mailed out in October of every year and are due by January 15th of the following year. If paid after January 15th, late penalties will be charged.
  • Cars, trucks, motorcycles, campers, and motorhome taxes are billed in the future and are due the last day of the month in which the license expires.

How do you determine the value of my watercraft?
Marine equipment tax information is provided to each county by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. By Law, the Auditor’s Office is required to tax using this information. (Boats are taxed at 10.5%. The tax rate is subject to a reduction of 4% if they are used as a primary residence. If you use the interest paid for the boat on your income tax return as a second home, the taxes can be lowered to a 6% rate). You may print and complete the form on our web page to submit to our office for approval and tax reduction. For any further questions you may contact the Department of Natural Resources at:

1000 Assembly Street
Rembert Dennis Bldg., Room 104
Columbia, SC 29202
803-734-3857
 or 217 Fort Johnson Road
Charleston, SC 29422
843-762-5000

Marine equipment valued at $500.00 or less is exempt from property taxes.
If you are active duty military, stationed in SC claiming another state as your home of record, marine equipment in your name may be exempted from property taxes. A current leave and earning statement (LONG FORM) must be filed with the Auditor’s Office.
Is it possible to appeal the value of my watercraft?
You may appeal the value of your watercraft by submitting a bill of sale or a written dealer appraisal to the Auditor’s office.
Are boat trailers taxable?
Boat trailers are no longer taxed. The taxpayer may obtain a license tag from the SCDMV to allow the trailer to be pulled across SC state lines. An exempt tax receipt may be obtained from the Auditor’s Office.
Are utility trailers taxable?
Utility trailers with a power-towing unit and a GVW equal to or less than 26,000 lbs does not require a property tax receipt. You may go to any local SCDMV office and pay a one-time fee to obtain a permanent license plate.
Utility trailers in a business name with a GVW of equal to or less than 26,000 lbs does require a paid tax receipt.
How are Business Personal Property taxes determined?
The South Carolina Code of Regulations Chapter 117-1840-1 states: The fair market value of merchants’ furniture, fixtures and equipment shall be the depreciated value as shown by the merchants’ records for South Carolina income tax purposes, provided however; that in no event is the original cost of the property to be reduced by more than ninety percent of the original capitalized costs.
Any property licensed in the State of South Carolina such as vehicles, marine equipment or aircraft would not be included on the return. Leased and/or rented equipment should not be included on the return.
What are the penalties for failure to file the Business Personal Property tax return?
South Carolina Law states that all items of personal property used in a business shall be assessed for property tax purposes. It also states that all businesses are required to file a personal property tax return on or before April 30th or 120 days after the close of their accounting period regularly employed for income tax purposes. A 10% penalty is added for late filing. There are no provisions for extensions.
What form do I use to file my Business Personal Property tax?
Businesses with a retail license must file a form PT100 to South Carolina Department of Revenue. This form is available on the SC Department of Revenue web site. For additional Information you may contact the SC Department of Revenue at (803)898-5222.
All other businesses must file a return with the Berkeley County Auditor’s office. A copy of the return may be printed from the Business Personal Property Return (PDF).

How is the value of my vehicle determined?
The South Carolina Department of Revenue provides each county with assessment guides that are required to be used as a first source to value vehicles. The second source is the NADA Vehicle Guide.
These values are multiplied by the assessment ratio set by the Law to determine the amount of taxes owed on a vehicle.
The assessed value is then multiplied by the millage rate to determine the amount of taxes owed on a vehicle.
How is the assessed value of my vehicle calculated?
According to Law Code: Title 12, Chapter 37, Section 12-37-268 vehicle assessments are determined by guides given to each county by the South Carolina Department of Revenue.
These guides are used to calculate the taxes due in accordance with the mills for the district in which you reside within the county.
When are my vehicle taxes due?
Property tax on motor and recreational vehicles must be paid before the license plates can be renewed.
The renewal month is the month that the vehicle was originally registered in.
If the vehicle is new to the State or if you have purchased it from an individual, it’s required by Law to pay the property taxes and have the vehicle registered within 45 days.
How do I apply for the high mileage discount on my renewal bill?
You may apply for the high mileage discount by completing the high mileage portion of the tax bill. This may be mailed, faxed, or emailed. According to State Law, you must request the high mileage discount on or before the last day if the month in which your license plate expires.
When the dealer tells me they take care of the taxes and tags, why did I receive a tax bill?
The dealership collects your South Carolina Sales Tax and DMV license plate fee. The bill you will receive is for the personal property taxes. Since the dealer is the only one who can purchase a license plate before the property taxes are paid, you will be given 120 days from your purchase date to pay your property taxes. If the property taxes are not paid at the end of the 120-day mark, your driver’s license may be suspended.
What do I need to do if I purchase a vehicle from an individual?
If you have purchased a vehicle from an individual, the property taxes must be paid before you can register the vehicle at the SCDMV. A copy of the title or bill of sale must be emailed, faxed or brought into the Auditor’s Office for a tax bill to be prepared. The paid tax receipt must be taken to the SCDMV. You may go online to scdmvonline.com to see what additional information the SCDMV may require. You have 45 days to register your vehicle.
How do I get a 45-day temporary license plate?
A person who newly acquires a vehicle may purchase a 45-day temporary tag from a South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles branch office.
What do I do if I receive a tax bill on a vehicle that I have sold?

  • If the bill you received is a renewal bill, you may disregard the bill. However, you must turn the license plate back into any South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles office within 30 says of the sale. If you still have time left on your license plate, you may qualify for a partial refund. If your vehicle was sold, total loss, or was repossessed, you may provide the Berkeley County Auditor’s office with the correct documentation. This information may be emailed, fax, mailed, or brought into the office.
    • If your vehicle was sold, please provide our office with your bill of sale or copy of the title signed over to new owner and your receipt for your tag being turned into any South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicle.
    • If your vehicle was total loss, please provide our office with your total loss letter from the insurance company and your receipt for your tag being turned into any South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicle.
    • If your vehicle was repossessed, please provide our office with your repossession letter and your receipt for your tag being turned into any South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicle.
  • If the bill received is a Car Dealership Purchase bill, you will need to contact the Berkeley County Auditor’s Office. You may owe all or a portion of the tax bill. Disregarding this tax notice could result in your driver’s license being suspended.
    • If your vehicle was sold, please provide our office with your bill of sale or copy of your title signed over to the new owner and your receipt for your tag being turned into any South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicle.
    • If your vehicle was total loss, please provide our office with your total loss letter from the insurance company and your receipt for your tag being turned into any South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicle.
    • If your vehicle was repossessed, please provide our office with your repossession letter and your receipt for your tag being turned into any South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicle.

What do I do if I want to transfer my license plate to another vehicle?
If you have a valid license plate from a previously owned vehicle in your name that has not expired, you may transfer the plate to your new vehicle. The tag from the previous vehicle and the title or bill of sale for the newly acquired vehicle must be taken to the SCDMV to have it transferred. Property taxes are not due on the new vehicle until the plate is ready for renewal.
What do I do with a South Carolina license plate once I’ve moved out of state?
When you move out of South Carolina and have registered your vehicle in another state, you must mail your South Carolina registration and license plate back to the SCDMV.
If the license plate has not expired, you may qualify for a refund. You may fax, email, mail or bring into the office a copy of your new registration complete with your new mailing address to apply for a refund.
What do I do if I move to Berkeley County from another county in South Carolina?
You must update your address with the SCDMV and then contact the Berkeley County Auditor’s Office.
How do I apply for the military exemption if I am active duty military?
The Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act exempts military personnel and their spouses (whose HOME OF RECORD is somewhere other than the State of South Carolina), from paying Berkeley County Property Taxes.
If you are active duty military stationed in South Carolina and claim another state as your home of record, vehicles (as well as leased vehicles) with a title in your name and/or your spouse’s name may be exempted from property taxes. A current Leave and Earning Statement (LES) must be filed with the Auditor’s Office yearly.
If your spouse is on the title as a co-owner or alone, a copy of their dependent ID card or copy of your marriage license must be presented in addition to the military member’s LES every year. Only active duty military personnel and their spouses may be exempt. Any other names on the title with the active duty military member’s name will result in the bill being half exempt.
You may also qualify for the military exemption if you are stationed elsewhere but you have family members still living in Berkeley County or if you own property in Berkeley County.
If you claim South Carolina as your home of record, you do not qualify for the exemption.
If you are in the Reserves, you are not eligible for the exemption.
Is there a senior citizen discount for vehicle taxes?
There is no senior citizen discount on vehicle taxes.

What is the Homestead Exemption Program and how do I know if I qualify? If so, how do I apply for the Program?
The Homestead Exemption Program exempts the first $50,000 from the taxable value of your primary residence.
You may apply for the Homestead Exemption any time after you reach the age of 65 and have lived in South Carolina for a full calendar year. Since house taxes are billed in arrears, you won’t see the discount on your bill until the year after you turn 65.
You may also qualify for the Homestead Exemption if you have been declared totally and permanently disabled by Social Security or if you have been declared legally blind by a licensed ophthalmologist.
If you are applying due to age, bring your birth certificate, driver’s license or passport and social security card, tax return or legal document with SS# listed. 
If you are applying due to your Social Security disability, you must provide your entitlement letter complete with your effective disability date. If you are applying due to being totally blind, you must provide a letter from your physician complete with the date your condition began.
Are there any tax reductions for an individual who is required to use a wheelchair?
You may be eligible for two personal vehicles to be exempt from property taxes that are owned or leased either solely or jointly by the person required to use a wheelchair. You must provide the vehicle’s registration card, bill of sale or title. You must also provide a signed physician’s statement on their letterhead certifying the required use of wheelchair on a permanent basis, complete with the effective date.
Are there any tax reductions if my minor child is required to use a wheelchair?
One personal vehicle owned or leased by the parent or legal guardian of a minor child who is blind or requires the use of a wheelchair when the vehicle is used to transport the minor. You must provide the vehicle’s registration card, bill of sale, or title and a physician’s statement certifying the minor child is blind or requires the use of a wheelchair complete with the effective date. You will also need a copy of the birth certificate showing parent(s) name or court documentation of legal guardianship.
Do I get a tax reduction for being a disabled veteran?
If you are a veteran who is 100% totally and permanently service connected disabled, you may be eligible for and exemption on two of your vehicles.
The Auditor’s Office will need a copy of a letter from the Veteran’s Administration certifying that the total and permanent disability is due to a service connection. In addition, the registration card or bill of sale of the vehicle(s) to be exempted must be presented to the South Carolina Department of Revenue for approval. This can be done by filling out the PT-401-I form and sending it to the SCDOR. Once the SCDOR has granted its approval, a letter will be mailed to the veteran. This letter can be brought in to the Berkeley County Auditor’s Office to have your vehicle(s) exempted from property tax. Any property taxes paid after the entitlement date will be refunded.
To qualify for this exemption, the vehicle must be registered solely in the name of the disabled veteran or jointly owned with a spouse. If the spouse has a different last name than the veteran, a marriage license must be provided. If the vehicle is jointly owned with anyone other than a spouse, it would be disqualified from receiving the exemption.
This exemption is also allowed for a surviving spouse for one vehicle owned or leased for their lifetime or until they remarry.
If you are applying as a surviving spouse, you must provide a copy of the Veteran’s death certificate, documentation from the Veterans Administration that you are the surviving spouse of the veteran, and a copy of the vehicle registration card, bill of sale or title showing you are the sole owner of the vehicle.
Are there any tax reductions for being a prisoner of war?
If you were a Prisoner of War (POW) in WWI, WWII, the Korean Conflict or the Vietnam Conflict, you are entitled to an exemption on two vehicles owned or leased solely by the POW or with a spouse. A certificate from the Veteran’s Administration certifying you were a POW, in addition the registration card or bill of sale of the vehicle(s) to be exempted must be presented to the South Carolina Department of Revenue for approval. This can be done by filling out the PT-401-I form and sending it to SCDOR. Once SCDOR has granted the approval, a letter will be mailed to the POW. This letter may be brought in to the Berkeley County Auditor’s Office to have your vehicle(s) exempted from property tax. Any property taxes paid after the entitlement date will be refunded.
To qualify for this exemption, the vehicle must be registered solely in the name of the POW or jointly owned with a spouse. If the spouse has a different last name then the POW, a marriage license must be provided. If the vehicle is jointly owned with anyone other than a spouse, it would be disqualified from receiving the exemption.
This exemption is also allowed for a surviving spouse for one vehicle for their lifetime or until they remarry.
If you are applying as a surviving spouse, you must provide a copy of the POW’s death certificate, documentation from the Veterans Administration that you are the survivor of the POW, and a copy of the vehicle registration card, bill of sale or title showing you are the soleowner of the vehicle.
Do I get a tax reduction for being a Medal of Honor recipient?
If you are a Medal of Honor recipient you are entitled to an exemption on two vehicles owned or leased solely by the Medal of Honor Recipient. You must present a certificate from the Veteran’s Administration certifying you are a Medal of Honor Recipient and the registration card or bill of sale of the vehicle(s) to be exempted.

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Tax Terms

Tax Terms

In 1915, South Carolina created the property tax on real and personal property. It is a main source of revenue for the state and local government, as well as public schools. All residents of South Carolina are asked to pay yearly ad valorem property taxes on real and personal property. Revenue generated is used by local government to provide the services that Berkeley County residents enjoy.

All land and the buildings, structures or improvements on that land and mobile homes are billed as real property. The Auditor does not appraise real property. Real property is taxed each year based on ownership December 31st of the previous year.

All things other than real estate which have value such as cars, trucks, motorcycles, campers, motor homes, marine equipment, aircraft, and items used in a business such as furniture, fixtures and equipment are taxed yearly. These taxes are based on ownership December 31st of the previous year.

According to value.

Reasonable amount for which a property can be sold to a willing buyer.

The percentage of our property’s value which is subject for taxation. The South Carolina Constitution provides for the following ratios to be applied to the market or use value of property to arrive at the assessed value:

  • Home (legal residence) 4%
  • Second Home (for any residential property where you do not live) 6%
  • Agriculture real property (private owned) 4%
  • Agriculture real property (corporate owned) 6%
  • Commercial real property 6%
  • Manufacturing real and personal property 10.5%
  • Utility real and personal property 10.5%
  • Railroads, pipelines, 9.5%
  • Aircraft 6%
  • Watercraft 10.5%
  • Business Personal Property 10.5%
  • Vehicles 6%

An appraisal or fair market value of real or personal property multiplied by the appropriate ratio equals the assessed value. Assessed value times the millage rate equals the amount of property taxes.

Process required by state law to determine the change in market value of property over a certain period of time in order to provide equity among taxpayers. It is the valuation of real estate.

The year that the tax bill is received payable by January 15 of the following year.

  • October 1 Property tax books are opened
  • January 15 Property taxes for the prior year must be paid to the county treasurer no later than this date.
  • January 16 through February 1 Property taxes for the prior year paid during this period are subject to a penalty of 3%.
  • February 2 through March 16 An additional penalty of 7% is added to taxes for the prior year paid during this period.
  • As of March 16, 2009 all real property and personnel property, and business taxes must be paid at the Tax Collector’s office in Moncks Corner (no other offices).

In Berkeley County, the voters approved the local option sales tax (LOST). Revenue collected from the additional 1% sales tax must be used for property tax relief. You do not have to apply for this reduction. It is automatically shown on your tax bill. Berkeley County’s sales tax is 8% effective May 1, 2009.

If you are active duty military stationed in South Carolina and claim another state as your home of record; vehicles as well as leased vehicles with a title in your name and/or your spouse’s name may be exempted from property taxes. A current Leave and Earning Statement must be filed with the Auditor’s Office. If your spouse is on the title as a co-owner or alone; a copy of their dependent ID card or copy of your marriage license must be presented in addition to the military member’s LES. Only active duty military personnel & spouses can be exempt and any other names on the title will cause them to have pay half the bill.

If you are a POW, a Medal of Honor recipient, have a 100% permanent and total service connected VA disability, or require the use of a wheel chair, you may be exempt from property taxes on up to two (2) vehicles. You may obtain applications from the Auditor’s Office.
In order to get vehicles totally exempt, only lease companies and spouses can be on the title; anyone else’s name on the title will cause the exemption to be lost.

All marine equipment, which includes boats, motors and trailers valued at $500 or less is exempt from property taxes (see www.dnr.sc.gov).

All new manufacturing establishments are exempt from county property taxes for five years from the time of establishment.

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Building & Codes

Yes. There are some buildings that are exempt from having to obtain a permit to build. Please call the permit office to obtain the correct information regarding your specific project.

Not only is it County policy to obtain a permit to build, move a home, manufactured or other, etc., but it is also a State requirement. When the State adopts the codes and/or policies, the County must also abide by the same codes or policies.

No. An approved permit must be in hand to begin any type of construction. If construction does begin without a permit and you are caught, the fees for all associated permits will be doubled.

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Clerk of Courts

Whether you will be coming to court as a party, witness, family friend, or observer, there are certain rules of conduct and appearance that everyone must follow. First, and foremost, you should arrive at court on time. Please be sure to allow sufficient time to find a parking space and pass through the security checkpoint at the front entrance. Mace, pepper spray, guns, knives or any other objects deemed to be potential weapons are not allowed in the courthouse. No audio or video recording devices or cell phones are allowed. Second you are expected to conduct yourself in a respectful manner. Whether appearing in court, or simply observing, you must come properly dressed. A coat and tie or dress are considered appropriate. Shorts, t-shirts and tank tops are not permitted in the courtrooms. When entering the courtroom please do so quietly and promptly find a seat.

Civil Court records are placed online at Public Index SC Courts.
The Clerk of Court’s Office maintains indices for civil and criminal case files. All civil cases are indexed by plaintiff (person bringing suit) and defendant (person sued). All criminal cases are indexed by the defendant (the accused). Family Court records are considered confidential and may only be inspected with special permission. Juvenile delinquency, adoptions, terminated parental rights, abuse and neglect, and any other sealed records are all confidential. There is a charge for copies.

Effective Tuesday, April 2, 2019, citizens currently making support payments to the Berkeley County Clerk of Court will make payment to the South Carolina State Disbursement Unit mailed to:

South Carolina State Disbursement Unit
P.O. Box 100302
Columbia, SC 29202-3302

Note: The State Disbursement Unit will accept personal checks.

If you have questions about when or how to make payment to the State Disbursement Unit, please contact the SDU customer service center at 1-800-768-5858. Agents are available M-F, 8:30am-5:00pm excluding holidays.

For more information for Customers Paying Support and the options available to make payments, visit https://dss.sc.gov/child-support/.

Note: Payments made to the SDU will be applied according to Federal guidelines.

Section 26-1-50 of the SC Code of Law requires that every notary public shall, within fifteen days after he has been commissioned, exhibit his commission to the clerk of the court of the county in which he resides and be enrolled by the clerk. You may enroll your notary between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except County holidays. The enrollment fee is $5.00 payable by cash, money order or credit card. You must bring your original notary certificate and a photo id.

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Communications

9-1-1 is for emergencies, potential emergencies, or when an emergency is imminent. Ask yourself:

  • Is there a danger to life or property?
  • Is there a serious medical emergency (chest pains, seizures, bleeding, etc.)
  • Is there any type of fire (building, vehicle, brush, etc.)
  • Is there any crime in-progress (robbery, burglary, prowler, fights, etc.)
  • Are there any other life threatening situations (traffic accident with injuries, stuck in high water, etc.)

You should call 9-1-1 anytime you believe there is an actual emergency. If you are unsure, call 9-1-1 and the dispatcher can assist you.

Please do not call 9-1-1 to report that electricity or other utilities are out; to notify authorities of traffic jams; to inquire about government services or to learn general information.
The Emergency Communications Center has several non-emergency telephone lines that are accessible to the public. For all non-emergency situations, please call (843) 719-4505 or (843) 719-4169. Examples of calls that should be placed to the non-emergency number are:

  • Traffic accidents that do not involve injuries
  • Loud music or barking dogs
  • Late reported incidents such as theft with no suspect information
  • Requests for information

When reporting an emergency:

  • Remain calm
  • Speak clearly
  • Listen to instructions
  • Answer all questions

The person answering 9-1-1 is a trained dispatcher. They have been trained to ask certain questions. Be prepared to follow the dispatcher’s line of questioning. (e.g. WHAT is happening, WHERE the situation is occurring, WHEN did the incident occur, WHO is involved, is a WEAPON involved, what INJURIES have been sustained, etc.).

If you call 9-1-1 by mistake, DO NOT HANG UP.
Stay on the line and tell the dispatcher that everything is all right.
If a caller to 911 hangs up without stating the problem, the caller must be contacted in order to ensure that no actual emergency exits.
This may involve the dispatching of an officer to your home or place of business in order to ensure that a problem does not exist.
One common misconception that citizens have about dialing 911 by mistake is they will somehow get into trouble. This is not true.

Dispatchers ask for pertinent information first – address, type of call, name of caller or those involved. Once the initial information is obtained, additional questions may be asked depending on the type of call.
The questioning will not slow down the dispatching of the appropriate assistance. In emergency cases, this information is relayed immediately to field units so they may begin responding to the incident, while the dispatcher remains on the phone to obtain further details that are also relayed to the responding units as it is gathered, in real time.
The dispatcher will further assist callers by giving instructions to callers on how to administer life saving techniques, such as CPR, during medical emergencies.
They will take steps to promote the personal safety of the caller, the victim and responding Police, Fire or EMS personnel. They will also engage in actions which preserve evidence to aid in the apprehension of suspects.

Calls for assistance from a residential or “hard wired plug-in phone” will come into the E911 center with a name, call back number and an address. However, the dispatcher will still verify this information to make sure it is correct and that the responding agencies are directed to the proper location.
Wireless or cell phone calls that come in will contain varying information. This information depends on the type of cell phone that you have, which cellular tower site location it reached and whether or not it is GPS capable. GPS capable phones will provide an estimated physical location.
The complainant’s name, location and call back number are not available to the Dispatcher and will have to be verified.
Providing landmarks, mile markers and general location descriptors will help speed a response to your location.

If you are going to burn anything, you need to call Forestry at 1-800-895-7063 to receive a burn permit number.

If you call 911 from a regular landline telephone, the phone number from which you are calling is sent to a database hosted by AT&T. The database will then send your address to the operator in the 911 Center.
If you are mobile and calling from a cell phone, you will be asked to verify your location. Being able to give a nearby address, intersection, landmark or any other descriptors of the area will help emergency personnel locate you.

With the increasing popularity of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone services in our area, it is very important that you check with your service providers to make sure that your addresses and phone numbers are correct and are associated with the correct Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for any potential 9-1-1 calls.

Being able to call 9-1-1 is a vital component of public safety and emergency preparedness. Traditional “wire-line” phone services have generally associated a particular phone number with a fixed address. Cellular phone services have generally associated a particular phone number with both the subscriber’s address and the physical location of the phone itself by means of using the phone’s GPS coordinates or cell tower usages. Depending on the nature of a 9-1-1 call, both wire-line and cell calls allow the local PSAP to help pinpoint a caller’s location to send help.

Consumers who use VoIP should be aware that VoIP 9-1-1 service may work differently from traditional 9-1-1 services. VoIP service allows you to make and receive calls to and from traditional phone numbers using a high-speed (broadband) Internet connection. VoIP services enables users to take their home or business phone service almost anywhere they have internet access. Because VoIP services are portable, or can be used from virtually any Internet connection anywhere, the location of the caller may not be capable of being determined automatically. The only address associated with a VoIP call is the address of the bill, or what the service provider has entered into the system. This can cause an issue if the address is listed incorrectly. Portability raises a number of challenges for the emergency services community. Although the FCC has taken action to make sure that emergency calls from these VoIP services will get through to the appropriate public safety authorities, there are still possible differences between VoIP 9-1-1 and traditional wire-line 9-1-1 service.

Cable Internet providers offer VoIP phone service, as well as some of the more traditional telephone carriers. If you have recently “bundled” your cable, phone, and internet service; odds are you are now using a VoIP phone. Also, some specific companies such as “Vonage” or “Magic Jack” are solely VoIP providers. The best thing to do if you are not sure is to contact your phone provider’s customer service department and ask.

If you are using a VoIP phone system that does not mean you won’t get 9-1-1 services. VoIP customers may need to provide or update their physical address location information to their VoIP providers, especially if they have recently changed locations, for their VoIP 9-1-1 service to function properly. This ensures that your provider has your updated information and if you dial 9-1-1, the responders do not respond to an incorrect address.

One other thing to remember with VoIP service is that if your power goes out or your internet connection goes down, you may lose your ability to make and receive calls. You might want to consider installing a backup power supply, maintaining a traditional phone line, or having a wireless phone to use as a backup in case of an emergency.

To get more information about VoIP telephone service and 9-1-1 emergency dialing you can visit the Federal Communications Commission website at this address:
http://transition.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/voip911.pdf

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Cypress Gardens

Yes

Yes, our Butterfly House is open year-round.

$10 Adults

$6.50 Senior (65&older)

$6.50 Military/First Responders

$5.00 Student (6-17)

5 & under are free

Yes, please fill out the form and our volunteer coordinator will contact you.

No, there are too many cypress knees and our paths are narrow.

Yes, November thru February.  Please make sure to clean up behind them.

No, but we have flat bottom boats available for you to use.  The fee is included in your admission if you row yourself.  If you would like a guided boat tour, it is an additional $5 per person.

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Emergency Medical Services

Berkeley County EMS only receives part of its funding via taxes, other funding is provided through a billing process. Berkeley County EMS’s total budget is $3.2 million, billing offsets about 1/3 of the operational expense.

In the Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester County area, Trident Technical College is the primary place to attend EMT Basic school. There are other places (Low Country EMS, Emergency Training Center), they are all in the book.

View Current Job Openings

There is a significant difference; a Paramedic performs advanced therapies such as medication administration, advanced airway maneuvers, electrical cardiac therapies and much more. A paramedic can perform therapies that at one time were solely performed in an Emergency Room. An EMT can perform basic level interventions such as oxygen delivery, bandaging and splinting.

South Carolina State Law requires motorist yield the right of way to emergency vehicles when they are responding with lights and sirens. In most instances, motorist should slow down and pull to the right edge of the road. Sometimes other maneuvers are necessary, in all cases it is important not to panic, stay calm and watch what the ambulance driver is doing. The action you will usually take is to safely distance yourself from the ambulance. The ambulance personnel will usually direct you if visual contact can be made.

First you must get certified as an EMT. Secondly, you will need to apply for an open position at the Berkeley County Human Resources Department. Last of all, you will take a practical and written exam to evaluate your skill level; once the testing is complete, you will be interviewed. If you perform well overall and out qualify the other applicants, the job is yours.

Berkeley County and the incorporated areas in Berkeley County, all operate on an Enhanced 911 System, this means all you have to do is call 911 and stay on the line.

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EPD

If you have immediate needs for food, clothing, and/or housing, call the American Red Cross. Second, contact your insurance agent to determine what damages they will cover. Third, if you do not have the funds to complete repairs, contact your local banker to arrange for a loan.

Sorry, the state cannot help. Washington State’s Constitution says: ” The credit of the state shall not, in any manner be given or loaned to, or in aid of, any individual, association, company, or corporation.” Essentially this means that state taxpayer dollars cannot be spent to help an individual with disaster related losses. While this may sound a bit harsh, would you want your tax dollars paying for damages to repair someone else’s property that could have easily been protected with their own insurance?

You cannot get assistance from FEMA: at least not until the Governor requests federal help and the President declares a major disaster in the state and county where you live.

The term disaster means different things to different people. If your house has damage and you do not have insurance to cover it, you would say you have a disaster. However, federal law defines disaster much more broadly. To get federal assistance the damage must be very serious and widespread affecting a number of people. A foot of water in your home is serious to you, but it does not meet the criteria for a federal disaster. A disaster as defined by the federal government occurs when hundreds of homes, or more, are destroyed or have sustained major damage.

The Governor is the only person who can ask the President to make a major disaster declaration. But first, the Governor’s request must include damage reports from counties affected by the disaster that clearly shows there have been “significant damages.” Generally speaking, the number of homes that have been destroyed or with major damage must be in the hundreds for the disaster to be considered “significant.” Your part in this process is to report your damages (even if they are insured) to your local jurisdiction’s emergency manager so they can be combined with other reports and forwarded to the state for analysis. Until you and your neighbors report your damages, nothing is going to happen. If the President declares a disaster, federal assistance becomes available to people and government agencies that have enough damages to qualify.

There are three possible reasons. First, the county you live in may not have met the thresholds to qualify for federal assistance and thus the Governor did not submit a request to the President. Second, it could be that the total amount of damage in the county/state did not measure up to what the federal government defines as a disaster and the President denied the state request. Third, the federal government could still be considering its decision. When a disaster request is denied or declared, it generally appears on the news.

Yes, there are. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) can declare a disaster, at the request of the Governor. If that happens, SBA can provide disaster loans to homeowners, renters, and small businesses much the way they would do if the President declared a major disaster. However, to qualify for this program the Governor must be able to clearly show that 25 homes and or businesses, in any county or political subdivision, have uninsured losses exceeding 40 percent of the estimated fair replacement value or pre-disaster fair market value, whichever is lower. The state often does not meet this threshold because many property owners have done the responsible thing and bought insurance – thank goodness! Again, until you and your neighbors call your local jurisdiction emergency manager and report your damages so they can compile and report it to the state for analysis, nothing is going to happen. The SBA loan program is described later.

When the President declares a major disaster that includes your county, you may be eligible for limited assistance from FEMA for eligible home repairs or replacement to one’s primary residence. Recent amendments (2006) to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (as amended) limit this assistance to a maximum $28,200 in federal fiscal year 2007. The amount is adjusted each year based on the consumer price index for all consumer goods.
Note: If your mortgaged and uninsured home is destroyed, the mortgage company will still demand payments and are legally entitled to do so! If nothing else, this should convince you of the value of having the appropriate insurance coverage.

If FEMA repair or replacement assistance will not get the job done for you, you may be eligible to apply for a low interest loan offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to home owners, renters, and small businesses. The law limits home loans to $200,000 for the structure and $40,000 for contents. You must qualify for this loan in much the same way as you do for any commercial loan. Most of the federal assistance to recover from disasters comes in the form of SBA loans.

If you don’t want a loan that is certainly your decision/choice. The SBA will help you decide whether or not you can afford a loan. Federal disaster rules mandate that you apply for a disaster loan before being considered for any additional disaster assistance (unless you do not meet the income test). If you do not apply for an SBA loan when instructed to do so, or reject a loan if one is offered, you may not be eligible for any additional federal assistance outside of the repair or replacement assistance mentioned above for repair or replacement of your destroyed home. If your loan application is approved and you accept it, you will more than likely have the funds you need to return your home to its pre-disaster condition.

If you do not qualify for a loan and have eligible disaster related serious needs or expenses, the SBA will refer your case to “Other Needs Assistance” (ONA) automatically. Through ONA, a disaster victim may receive additional federal assistance for eligible personal property and vehicle losses as well as help with medical, dental, and funeral expenses and certain other miscellaneous items provided that you have not already exceeded the maximum allowable assistance as provided for in the law, which is $28,200 in federal fiscal year 2007. If you have already received the maximum for home repair or replacement, there are no federal funds left to help you.

Congress never intended for federal disaster assistance to cover all your losses. The intent of federal disaster assistance is to help with your essential needs. It provides help in answering the question – what do you really need to be safe, secure, and sanitary? These needs are based on the experiences of thousands of disaster victims. After the President declares a disaster, FEMA inspectors will come to your home and inspect both your real and personal property and record your losses in a database. Your eligibility for assistance awards will be based on that inspection. Jewelry, antiques, stereos, and other non-essential items are not eligible for assistance. Likewise, recreational property, second homes, and out-buildings are also not essential.

Good question. The information you hear on the news is often misleading. The total amount of assistance (excluding loans from the SBA) that an individual can get from FEMA to help recover from a disaster is limited to $28,200 as of October 1, 2006. This amount is adjusted each year based on the Consumer Price Index for all Consumer Goods. Any funds you get from FEMA for housing or Other Needs Assistance count against the $28,200. However, very few disaster victims get the full amount. Before you can get assistance from Other Needs Assistance (ONA), you must first apply for an SBA loan. Most people qualify for loans and therefore do not get help through ONA. This is why very few disaster victims receive the maximum assistance award. Historically, in Washington State, the average disaster victim gets around $6,000.

Maybe. Voluntary and faith-based organizations across the state will attempt to assist households with disaster related serious needs and expenses after all federal assistance has been rendered. However, these organizations operate on limited donated funds and probably will not be able to help you fully recover. If you find yourself in this situation, it is best to hang on to all your FEMA funds and make them available to the organization that agrees to help you. Voluntary and faith-based organizations can come up with volunteers to do the work easier than they can come up with the funds to buy materials. Working together with your FEMA funds and volunteer labor, you are more likely to realize the greatest level of assistance. Volunteer and faith-based programs provide assistance to disaster victims regardless of whether the state gets federal assistance or not. In short – they are generally always available to help meet essential needs.

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Emergency Notification System

The Berkeley County Emergency Notification System (BCENS) is an Emergency Notification System designed to rapidly notify an affected area of an emergency by sending a recorded message through the telephone system.

Individuals submit phone numbers and e-mail addresses to the BCENS. The system then extracts the contact information determined by a circle or area drawn on the BCENS map. The system then launches a prerecorded message by calling, emailing or sending a text message to those contacts that fall within the defined area (based on the address used when signing up).

Yes – you can register your cell or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone with the BCENS. You will only receive BCENS notifications based on the address you provide for your cell and/or VoIP phone.

Your caller ID will show “Berkeley County”

The system is designed to leave a message on voice mail or an answering machine.

The system has TTY capability for the hearing impaired. There is TTY detection equipment that will bypass the voice-recorded portion when a TTY or TDD is detected.

The system is designed to call back if the line is busy or if there is no answer. The system will wait five minutes before a second callback is made.

Residents that self register their telephone number(s) will need to update their address at the BCENS Self Registration Portal.

Each notification call will be different depending on the incident. The primary agency handling the emergency will make the recording you will hear. It is important to follow the instructions on the recording.

No, 9-1-1 should only be called when you have an emergency. The emergency notification recording will give you instructions to follow.

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Finance

Berkeley County’s budget calendar runs a fiscal year of July 1st – June 30th.

Click here to view current and past years’ budgets.

Berkeley County borrows money to minimize the impact on millage rates when funding large projects. This allows the County to pay for large projects over the course of several years.

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Information Technology

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Legal

No, this office does not give legal advice to the public. The public may contact the S.C. Lawyer Referral Service for assistance in locating an attorney at 800-868-2284 or the Neighborhood Legal Assistance Program at 888-346-5592.

Contact the Public Defender’s Office at 843-899-2777.

You may access the Berkeley County Ordinances at the following link: www.municode.com

Contact the Commission on Lawyer Conduct at 803-734-2038.

Berkeley County processes its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests through an online portal making it an efficient and streamlined process for requesters. You may submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request here. If you are first-time user, you will need to create an account.

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Magistrate Court

Civil, Traffic and Criminal cases can be searched online at Public Index SC Courts.

See the following link for more information on the Eviction Process.

If a person is occupying your property without consent or is refusing to leave you can file a Notice to Quit Premises. This is when there is no landlord-tenant agreement between the parties (example, a child or boyfriend/girlfriend). Once served with this order, the defendant has 5 days to vacate the property or request a show cause hearing. If they refuse to leave you may obtain a Writ of Possession to have the defendant removed from the property.

See the following link for more information on the Claim and Delivery Procedure.

See the following link for more information on the Small Claims Procedure.

See the following link for more information on the Appeal Procedure.

See the following link for more information on the Restraining Order Procedure.

See the following link for more information provided by the DMV on Abandoned Vehicle.

See the following link for more information provided by the DMV on Abandoned MH.

Please see the following link for more information on Expungements.

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Mosquito Abatement

Mosquitoes require blood to develop fertile eggs, thus only the females bite. The blood meal serves no nutritional purpose. Both males and females feed on plant liquids, nectar, and fruit juices to provide the sugar that is their main source of energy.

There are over 2500 different species of mosquitoes worldwide, close to 200 species occur in the United States, and we have identified 55 species here in Berkeley County.

Most of mosquito species in our area have an adult life span of only about two weeks. Some species over-winter as adults and live 2-3 months or longer if environmental conditions are favorable.

There are several things you can do to help reduce mosquitoes. For a list of practical measures please click on the Homeowner Tips link.

Because female mosquitoes feed on blood, they have the potential of transmitting disease organisms. World-wide, mosquitoes are responsible for the transmission of disease to millions of people each year. These diseases include encephalitis, dengue, yellow fever, malaria, filariasis, and West Nile Virus. In Berkeley County the principle mosquito-borne diseases we are concerned with are Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), West Nile Virus, and Dog Heartworm. A number of biological and environmental conditions occurring in the current sequence must take place for EEE and WNV transmission into the human population to take place; however, it is very important to keep your horses vaccinated against these arboviruses. Dog heartworm is common to the area; if you don’t keep your dog on heartworm medication it will contract the disease.

Water is an integral part of a mosquito’s habitat. Mosquitoes go through four distinct stages in their life cycle: the egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Of these four stages, the first three occur in water. BCMA personnel check standing water throughout the county to determine if juvenile mosquitoes are present. When larvae or pupae are found, we apply environmentally friendly insecticides to the water. Obviously, eliminating the immature mosquitoes before they emerge as adults is our preferred means of control. Not only does it reduce the likelihood our citizens will be bitten by blood feeding adults, but it reduces the need for adulticide applications. Unfortunately there is no way to completely eliminate all of Berkeley County’s mosquitoes in their juvenile stages, so adult control remains a key component of our program.

BCMA does not spray on a set schedule. For environmental and economical reasons, we conduct adulticide operations when mosquitoes are present at such levels to pose a nuisance or possible health risk. We use a number of surveillance measures to determine when and where adult control measures are needed and dispatch our spray trucks accordingly.

There are several reasons why adulticide applications are made at night. 1) The majority of mosquito species are most active around dusk and again at dawn. We want to spray when mosquitoes are most likely to be out and flying. 2) In order for the spray droplets to remain close to the ground, applications must be made during a thermal inversion. This climatic condition normally occurs at night as ground temperature cools. Applications made during the middle of a hot day will be carried by rising currents of warm air straight up into the atmosphere. 3) Our citizens are less likely to be out and about after dark. While there is an extremely small risk associated with the adulticides we spray, BCMA strives to reduce human exposure as much as possible.

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Permitting

Yes. There are some buildings that are exempt from having to obtain a permit to build. Please call the permit office to obtain the correct information regarding your specific project.

Not only is it County policy to obtain a permit to build, move a home, manufactured or other, etc., but it is also a State requirement. When the State adopts the codes and/or policies, the County must also abide by the same codes or policies.

No. An approved permit must be in hand to begin any type of construction. If construction does begin without a permit and you are caught, the fees for all associated permits will be doubled.

State law requires the OWNER OF RECORD to obtain all permits unless a contractor is obtaining the permits.

This is a new policy DHEC is requesting us to enforce. All questions can be directed to them.

The permitting department can answer general questions regarding property in the unincorporated areas of Berkeley County. If you live in a municipality, you will need to contact that office to obtain your zoning information.

There are several factors to consider when wanting to put a manufactured home on your property. There is the zoning of your property to consider, acreage, water and sewer availability, etc.

Taxes follow the property, not the owner, for a manufactured home. When purchasing a manufactured home and moving it within or out of the county, all taxes must be paid.

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Planning & Zoning

The Floodplain Manager for Berkeley County is Penny Ayers. She can be reached by phone at 843-719-4266, by email at penny.ayers@berkeleycountysc.gov or by departmental email, marked to her attention, at webcde@berkeleycountysc.gov.

Yes. Flood insurance is mandatory for the life of a mortgage. If the home is in a special flood hazard area then an elevation certificate with pictures is required for proper rating. If the home is not in the flood zone or the homeowner disagrees they may apply for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA). This would remove the structure only from the flood zone and then lower the insurance rating. This application information can be obtained at the Berkeley County Office Building in the Building & Codes Department.

Yes. The construction information is different for the SFHA than in areas not in the flood areas. There are elevations required, venting and special stages of inspection. This information can also be obtained at the County Offices in the Building & Codes Department.

FEMA publications can be picked up at the Berkeley County Government office in the building and codes department. These publications are free to the public. There are also publications in the Berkeley County Libraries in Moncks Corner and Goose Creek.

In support of the NFIP, FEMA identifies flood hazard areas throughout the U. S. and its territories by producing Flood Hazard Boundary Maps (FBMs), Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). Several areas of flood hazards are commonly identified on these maps. One of these areas is the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), a high-risk area defined as any land that would be inundated by a flood having a 1-percent chance of occurring in any given year (also referred to as the base flood).

The high-risk-area standard constitutes a reasonable compromise between the need for building restrictions to minimize potential loss of life and property and the economic benefits to be derived from floodplain development. Development may take place within the SFHA, provided that development complies with local floodplain management ordinances, which must meet the minimum Federal requirements. Flood insurance is required for insurable structures within high-risk areas to protect Federal financial investments and assistance used for acquisition and/or construction purposes within communities’ participation in the NFIP.

For virtually every mortgage transaction involving a structure in United States, the lender reviews the current NFIP maps for the community in which the property is located to determine its location relative to the published SFHA and completes the Standard Flood Hazard Determination Form (SFHDF). If the lender determines that the structure is indeed located within the SFHA and the community is participating in the NFIP, the borrower is then notified that flood insurance will be required as a condition of receiving the loan. A similar review and notification is completed whenever a loan is sold on the secondary loan market or perhaps when the lender completes a routine review of its mortgage portfolio. This fulfills the lender’s obligation under the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994 that requires the mandatory purchase of flood insurance by property owners who are being assisted by Federal programs or by Federally regulated institutions in the acquisition or improvement of land, or facilities, or structures located to be located within an SFHA.

There is normally a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance goes into effect. There are two basic exceptions:

  1. If the initial purchase of flood insurance is in connection with the making, increasing, extending, or renewing of a loan, there is no waiting period. The coverage becomes effective at the time of the loan, provided the application and presentment of premium are made at or prior to loan closing.
  2. If the initial purchase of flood insurance is made during the 13-month period following the revision or update of a Flood Insurance Rate Map for the community, there is a 1-day waiting period.
    1. In addition to the two basic exceptions, FEMA has issued a policy decision specifying the following four exceptions: The 30-day waiting period will not apply when there is an existing insurance policy and an additional amount of flood insurance is required in connection with the making, increasing, extending, or renewing of a loan, such as a second mortgage, home equity loan, or refinancing. The increased amount of flood coverage will be effective as of the time of the loan closing, provided the increased amount of coverage is applied for and presentment of additional premium is made at or prior to the loan closing.
    2. The 30-day waiting period will not apply when an additional amount if insurance is required as a result of a map revision. The increased amount of coverage will be effective at 12:01 a. m. on the first calendar day after the date the increased amount of coverage is applied for and presentment of additional premium is made.
    3. The 30-day waiting period will not apply when flood insurance is required as a result of a lender’s determining a loan that does not have flood insurance coverage should be protected by flood insurance. The coverage will be effective upon the completion of an application and the presentment of payment of premium.
    4. The 30-day waiting period will not apply when an additional amount of insurance offered in the renewal bill is being obtained in connection with the renewal of a policy.

The general public, lenders, and insurance agents of the availability of elevation certificates can request copies from the Floodplain Manager for Berkeley County Monday-Friday, 8:00am to 4:00pm. To obtain a copy of the elevation certificates by emailing the Floodplain Manager or by faxing requests to 843-719-4053.

The Floodplain Manager for Berkeley County is Penny Ayers. She can be reached by phone at 843-719-4266, by email at penny.ayers@berkeleycountysc.gov or by departmental email, marked to her attention, at webcde@berkeleycountysc.gov.

Yes. Flood insurance is mandatory for the life of a mortgage. If the home is in a special flood hazard area then an elevation certificate with pictures is required for proper rating. If the home is not in the flood zone or the homeowner disagrees they may apply for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA). This would remove the structure only from the flood zone and then lower the insurance rating. This application information can be obtained at the Berkeley County Office Building in the Building & Codes Department.

Yes. The construction information is different for the SFHA than in areas not in the flood areas. There are elevations required, venting and special stages of inspection. This information can also be obtained at the County Offices in the Building & Codes Department.

FEMA publications can be picked up at the Berkeley County Government office in the building and codes department. These publications are free to the public. There are also publications in the Berkeley County Libraries in Moncks Corner and Goose Creek.

In support of the NFIP, FEMA identifies flood hazard areas throughout the U. S. and its territories by producing Flood Hazard Boundary Maps (FBMs), Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). Several areas of flood hazards are commonly identified on these maps. One of these areas is the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), a high-risk area defined as any land that would be inundated by a flood having a 1-percent chance of occurring in any given year (also referred to as the base flood).

The high-risk-area standard constitutes a reasonable compromise between the need for building restrictions to minimize potential loss of life and property and the economic benefits to be derived from floodplain development. Development may take place within the SFHA, provided that development complies with local floodplain management ordinances, which must meet the minimum Federal requirements. Flood insurance is required for insurable structures within high-risk areas to protect Federal financial investments and assistance used for acquisition and/or construction purposes within communities’ participation in the NFIP.

For virtually every mortgage transaction involving a structure in United States, the lender reviews the current NFIP maps for the community in which the property is located to determine its location relative to the published SFHA and completes the Standard Flood Hazard Determination Form (SFHDF). If the lender determines that the structure is indeed located within the SFHA and the community is participating in the NFIP, the borrower is then notified that flood insurance will be required as a condition of receiving the loan. A similar review and notification is completed whenever a loan is sold on the secondary loan market or perhaps when the lender completes a routine review of its mortgage portfolio. This fulfills the lender’s obligation under the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994 that requires the mandatory purchase of flood insurance by property owners who are being assisted by Federal programs or by Federally regulated institutions in the acquisition or improvement of land, or facilities, or structures located to be located within an SFHA.

There is normally a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance goes into effect. There are two basic exceptions:

  1. If the initial purchase of flood insurance is in connection with the making, increasing, extending, or renewing of a loan, there is no waiting period. The coverage becomes effective at the time of the loan, provided the application and presentment of premium are made at or prior to loan closing.
  2. If the initial purchase of flood insurance is made during the 13-month period following the revision or update of a Flood Insurance Rate Map for the community, there is a 1-day waiting period.
    In addition to the two basic exceptions, FEMA has issued a policy decision specifying the following four exceptions:

    1. The 30-day waiting period will not apply when there is an existing insurance policy and an additional amount of flood insurance is required in connection with the making, increasing, extending, or renewing of a loan, such as a second mortgage, home equity loan, or refinancing. The increased amount of flood coverage will be effective as of the time of the loan closing, provided the increased amount of coverage is applied for and presentment of additional premium is made at or prior to the loan closing.
    2. The 30-day waiting period will not apply when an additional amount if insurance is required as a result of a map revision. The increased amount of coverage will be effective at 12:01 a. m. on the first calendar day after the date the increased amount of coverage is applied for and presentment of additional premium is made.
    3. The 30-day waiting period will not apply when flood insurance is required as a result of a lender’s determining a loan that does not have flood insurance coverage should be protected by flood insurance. The coverage will be effective upon the completion of an application and the presentment of payment of premium.
    4. The 30-day waiting period will not apply when an additional amount of insurance offered in the renewal bill is being obtained in connection with the renewal of a policy.

The general public, lenders, and insurance agents of the availability of elevation certificates can request copies from the Floodplain Manager for Berkeley County Monday-Friday, 8:00am to 4:00pm. To obtain a copy of the elevation certificates by emailing the Floodplain Manager or by faxing requests to (843) 719-4053.

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Real Property

There are three methods typically used by appraisers to value real property. These are the Cost Approach, Sales Comparison Approach and Income Approach. Not every method is applicable to every property.
The cost approach is a real estate valuation method that surmises that the price a buyer should pay for a piece of property should equal the cost to build an equivalent building. In cost approach appraisal, the market price for the property is equal to the cost of land, plus cost of construction, less
depreciation.
The sales comparison approach is also based on the principle of substitution: it uses sales of similar properties as a basis for comparison. It is rooted in the principal that the arms-length, negotiated sale price of similar properties, best indicates the market value of the subject property. Adjustments must be made for differences in attributes, such as location, size, quality, condition, special features.
The income approach is based on the anticipated income stream generated by the use of the property and the desired return on investment. In this approach, the income (net or gross) a property will generate is estimated. Capitalization rates (rate of return) or multipliers are used to predict value. This approach is used primarily for commercial and rental property.

The appraised value is the value estimate established by the assessor from the last reassessment, an assessable transfer of interest, the value as a result of an appeal, or the value after new construction/remodeling. The appraised value may be capped based on the last reassessment (15% limitation)
The assessed value is the result of multiplying the appraised value by the appropriate assessment ratio of 4%, 6% or 10.5%.

Reference: S.C. Code of Laws 12-37-3130 & 12-37-3135

Assessable transfer of interest (ATI) means a transfer of an existing interest in real property that subjects the real property to appraisal (revalued at a more current date of value in between reassessments). For purposes of this definition, an existing interest in real property includes life estate interests. A nonexclusive list of events that constitute an ATI is provided in South Carolina Code of Laws 12-37-3150.

Reference: S.C. Code of Laws 12-43-220

To qualify for the special property tax assessment ratio, the owner-occupant(s) must have actually owned and occupied the residence as his/her legal residence and been domiciled at that address for some period during the applicable tax year.
You must file an application and provide all required documents listed on the application as proof that your only legal residence is in Berkeley County. Incomplete applications or those missing information/documents will not be processed.
Online 4% Legal Residence application
Filing as early in the year as possible, well before tax bills are mailed is highly recommended. Once tax bills are mailed the number of applications received per week increase and the number received per week continues to climb as the end of the year and the last day to pay taxes near.

Homestead Exemption – Homeowners age 65 or older or deemed permanently disabled by the Social Security Administration.
Please contact the Auditor’s Office

South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) Property Tax Exemption – Veterans that are permanently and totally disabled as a result of a service connected disability, Former law enforcement officer, who is permanently and totally disabled as a result of a law enforcement service connected disability in this State, Former firefighter, including volunteer firefighter who is permanently or totally disabled as a result of a firefighting service connected disability in this State, Paraplegic or Hemiplegic homeowner.

Please contact the SCDOR at 1-803-898-5000 or visit them at www.dor.sc.gov for information regarding this exemption.

Reference: S.C. Code of Laws 12-43-220

If you receive military orders for a PCS or a TDY for at least one year, you are required to file the Active Duty Military Special Assessment Supplement Application with this office, on or before the first penalty date (usually January 15th) of the year in which you wish to receive the military exemption. Please keep in mind that this is an annual application that must be filed every year applicable, on or before the first penalty date.
Special Assessment Active Duty Military Supplement Application

Reference: S.C. Code of Laws 12-43-232

Agricultural use value refers to the appraisal value assigned to those acreage tracts of land that qualified based on bona fide agricultural use of the property.


  • If the tract is used to grow timber it must be five acres or more or be contiguous to or under the same management system as a tract of timberland which meets the minimum requirements.
  • For tracts not used to grow timber, tracts must be ten acres or more.
  • Tracts not meeting the acreage requirements may qualify if the person making the application earned at least $1,000 of gross farm income for at least three of the five taxable years preceding the year of application.

The Assessor may require the applicant to give written authorization consistent with privacy laws allowing the Assessor to very if farm income from the Department of Revenue or the IRS and to provide Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service farm identification number of the tract and allow verification with the ASCS Office

An application must be filed with the Assessor’s office on or before the first penalty date for taxes due for the first year in which the special assessment is claimed. Applications can be filed online, incomplete applications or those missing information/documents will not be processed. You must file a separate application for each qualifying parcel.

You may access the application by clicking on this link Agricultural Use Application

Reference: S.C. Code of Laws 12-43-220

When real property valued and assessed as agricultural property is changed to a use other than agricultural it is subject to additional taxes, referred to as rollback taxes. Rollback taxes are calculated on the difference between what was paid under agricultural use verses what would have been paid as nonagricultural property. The rollback taxes can be applied to the property for the preceding five (5) years.

Reference: S.C. Code of Laws 12-60-2510, 12-60-2520 & 12-43-217

Objections must be in writing, you are able to email, fax, mail or present your appeal in person. The Informal Appeal Request Form can be located under Forms & Documents.

If you received a Notice of Classification, Appraisal & Assessment of Values, appeal rights expire within 90 days of date the notice was mailed. The deadline is shown on the Notice.

If no notice is sent, the taxpayer has until the last day to pay taxes without penalty to appeal for the tax year. Generally, that date is January 15th.

Your objection must contain the following:

  • Identification of the property in question, Tax Map Number (TMS) and property address (if applicable)
  • Basis of your appeal
  • Your opinion of Value
  • Contact name and telephone number

You may be contacted by a representative of the Assessor’s office to discuss your issues, either by telephone or scheduled conference

Step 1. Informal Review A certified appraiser will conduct an informal review of all timely-filed appeals.

Step 2. Notice of Decision The assessor will notify the property owner of the results of the review by mailing a notice of decision

Step 3. Board of Appeals After receiving the assessor’s notice of decision you can appeal to the County Board of Assessment Appeals by filing a written protest with the board within 30 days of the notice of decision date.

Step 4. Administrative Law Court Division If you are not satisfied with the decision made by the County Board of Assessment Appeals, you may appeal to the Administrative Law Judge Division within 30 days of the County Board of Assessment Appeals written decision.

Taxpayers are urged to file objections for any tax year early in the year (in the spring if possible). Objections are handled in the order received. Filing an objection does not relieve the taxpayer of the obligation to pay the current bill while the objection process proceeds. For that reason, filing well before bills are issued is advised.

A notice of property tax assessment is not a property tax bill. In general, a Notice of Classification, Appraisal and Assessment of Values informs the owner of a value change, or of approval, removal or denial of various exemptions or special assessments. Notices relating to value changes are sent primarily the year after a change is made to a property, after an error is discovered, after the property transfers, or there is a countywide reassessment. Some of the changes that may trigger a notice are new buildings, new improvements, renovations, additions, subdividing property, etc.

Reference: S.C. Code of Laws 12-43-217

Once every fifth year each county or the State shall appraise and equalize those properties under its jurisdiction. Property valuation must be complete at the end of December of the fourth year and the county or State shall notify every taxpayer of any change in value or classification if the change is one thousand dollars or more. In the fifth year, the county or State shall implement the program and assess all property on the newly appraised values.

The amount of property tax due is based upon three elements: (1) the property value, (2) the assessment ratio applicable to the property used to determine assessed value, and (3) the millage rate imposed by the taxing jurisdictions.

  • Was your property affected by an “assessable transfer of interest” (ATI)?
  • The neighbor’s tax bill is $600, but your tax bill is $900. Your “neighbor” bought his house in 2005 and you bought your home in 2008.
  • SC voters approved a 15% cap to be applied against the prior-year value for all conveyances occurring prior to the 2007 tax year. The prior year value of your neighbor’s property is capped at 15% when implementing county-wide reassessment
  • SC state law requires the removal of the 15% cap when an assessable transfer of interest occurs after the 2006 tax year. SC law requires a “point-of-sale” reassessment with a current market value having an effective appraisal date of December 31st of the year that the “ATI” conveyance occurred.
  • Have you applied for the legal resident exemption?
  • Are you age 65 or over and qualify for homestead exemption?

Do you qualify for an agricultural use value?

You may submit your request for change of address concerning your real property tax bill to this office, by completing the Change of Address Application

This office will update the mailing address for the following: residential, vacant land, and commercial buildings.

To request an address change for your vehicle(s) or business personal property, please contact the Auditor’s Office.

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Roads & Bridges

Dirt roads maintained by Berkeley County Roads & Bridges are divided into sections by geographic location. The intervals between maintenance may vary based on actual road conditions, material on the road and the location of the motor grader on its route. A typical maintenance cycle on each section takes approximately 6 – 8 weeks.

Requests for road improvements will be reviewed by the department director and road superintendent. A decision will then be made based on actual road conditions, length and material presently on the road.

Large drainage projects are normally undertaken and funded by Berkeley County, based on the condition of the drainage system. If a resident(s) wishes the ditch to be piped for aesthetic reasons, then a jointly funded project between our department and the landowner(s) may be considered.

Public and privately maintained roads vary. Please contact our office and a member of our staff will assist you with that determination.

Berkeley County Roads & Bridges Encroachment Permits must be obtained from our department prior to any work being performed in a county maintained right-of-way or drainage easement only. Examples of encroachments include driveways, utility installation, fence construction, landscaping, etc.

Presently the Roads & Bridges Department does not charge a permit fee, but other local & state agencies may. Please check with your local or state agencies for their permitting process.

Road maintenance responsibilities vary from road to road. Please contact our office and a member of our staff will assist you with that determination.

Based on determining which agency maintains the road, the claims for damages on Berkeley County roads will be forwarded to the Berkeley County Risk Management Department for review and investigation.

Drainage ditches are generally located within easements. The easements allow the county access to maintain the flow of water, but the actual drainage ditches are located on residents property. The county does not own drainage ditches.

There is a traffic calming ordinance available. Please contact Berkeley County Engineering for more information.

The county installs driveways off of county maintained roads. Please contact our office for a quote.

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Home and Property Safety

Adding lighting to walkways and entrances, and installing motion detector lighting increases safety and can help deter criminals. Adding a peephole to the front door allows you to see people without opening the door or looking out a window. Add deadbolt locks to your doors. Spring action locks are easily broken by criminals. Window bars or window locks that open easily from inside should be installed. Also, you may want to add a locking bar to your patio door to provide more security than a simple lock.

Never leave garage doors open or unlocked, and consider installing a garage door opener. Not only is it convenient, but it will keep you protected while getting out of your car.

Never leave your keys in your vehicle or in the gas tank area. Always keep your vehicle locked and keep valuables out of view.

Install an alarm and a surveillance system in your home. Organize a neighborhood watch program with your local law enforcement agency; neighbors can be the best friends you have in preventing crime. Also, think about getting a dog. Not only are they good friends, they are excellent crime deterrents. No burglar wants to walk into a situation where an animal can take away his or her control.

Trim shrubs or trees that block your windows and doors. You, your neighbors, and law enforcement officers need to be able to see your home. Besides, this gives the intruders nowhere to hide.

Outside entry doors should be windowless and made of fiberglass, metal, metal clad or solid wood, not hollow core. All outside doors should have non-removable hinges and deadbolt locks with a minimum one-inch bolt. Double cylinder deadbolts (requiring a key for opening on the inside) are the most secure, but can be a serious problem in a fire.

Doors with glass windows less than 40 inches from the lock can easily be opened by breaking the glass and reaching inside. Replace the glass with unbreakable glass, or replace the door. Install a lens peephole in all outside doors, not just the front entry. Make sure peepholes are easy for all members of the family to use – including children and persons in wheelchairs.

Having a record of your property is essential to being able to recover it should you be the victim of a property crime. In order to get an item back from a pawnshop or other party, you must be able to positively identify it. This can be done by taking photos of the item, including the serial number along with an overall photo of it and by having an “owner applied number” on it. To do this, you can engrave your driver’s license number along with the SCDL prefix on the back metal plates of your appliances, stereos, TV etc. for identification purposes. Items that cannot be engraved, such as jewelry, antiques, and firearms or heirlooms, should be photographed and regularly appraised for accurate value. The best way to recover stolen property is to keep a written record of all items. Be sure to include the serial number, make, model, reasonable replacement cost, and general description. This record will allow the items to be entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer, and the victim will be notified in the event that a stolen item is recovered. It will also aid in the prosecution of those who may have or had possession of the items.

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Personal Safety

Remember, not every criminal looks like a psychopath with crazed eyes. In fact, most victims know their assailant. Serial killers are often attractive, charming people.

There is strength in numbers. Never walk or drive alone if possible, especially at night. Numbers discourage criminals because their goals become harder to achieve.

Many criminals stalk their victims before striking. In order to avoid a dangerous, “predictable” pattern, change your schedule often or vary your route whenever possible.

Find someone with whom you can be accountable. For instance, if you must walk alone, call someone and tell him or her where you are going, and what time you will return. Plan to call them when you arrive or return. If you are late, your contact person can call the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office at 843-719-4412 and advise them of the situation.

Use common sense. Avoid the obvious. Carry your money in an inner coat pocket, or fanny pack. If you use a purse, carry a shoulder bag held close to your body or worn inside your coat.

Unless a law enforcement officer is in a marked car; never agree to pull off the road. Many criminals obtain victims by indicating their car or the victim’s car is having problems.

Never leave your keys in the car. Always lock doors and keep valuables out of view. To avoid car problems, keep your car in good working order. Consider purchasing an emergency roadside kit, a cellular phone or CB radio. If you must pull over, light flares and put up emergency triangles. Lock yourself in the car and wait for assistance.

For more information about how to form a watch group, or information about existing groups in your area, contact the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Division at 843-719-4713.

Take extra precautions to lessen your likelihood of becoming a victim.

  • Avoid walking alone at night
  • Walk only on busy, well-lit streets
  • Vary your daily routine
  • Carry a whistle
  • Do not walk too closely to the inside of a sidewalk, near bushes, alley entrances, driveways or entrances to private places
  • Try not to overload yourself with packages
  • Do not hitchhike or accept rides from strangers
  • If a car approaches and the driver bothers you, walk in the opposite direction
  • If someone asks you for directions from their car, do not walk over to them, make them speak louder
  • Don’t walk through dark parking lots, parks or other dark places
  • If you think someone is following you, do not go home, go instead to a neighbor’s house, open business or other well lit place where there should be people to help you
  • If you arrive home by taxi or with a friend, ask them to wait until you are inside your home
  • Keep doors locked at all times
  • Do not hide door keys outside of your home
  • If door keys have been lost, change the locks or re-key immediately
  • Avoid giving your house keys to anyone other than family members or trusted friends
  • Be sure the exterior of your home is well-lit at night
  • Instruct children never to answer a doorbell or a knock at the door
  • Put curtains or blinds on all windows and keep them closed at night
  • Install solid wood or metal doors equipped with good deadbolt locks
  • Move exterior door hinges to the interior or install non-removable hinge pins
  • Install a wide-angel peephole for a full view outside the door
  • Do not leave clubs or night spots with strangers or invite them to your apartment or home
  • When moving into a house or apartment, change or re-key all locks
  • Know the neighbors you can trust in an emergency
  • When returning home, have your keys ready and enter the house as quickly as possible
  • Use your initials rather than your first name in the phone book and on your mailbox
  • If you hear a prowler inside your house, get out of the house, if possible, exit through a back door or window to avoid any confrontation with the prowler
  • If you sense that something is not right, do not go into your home or apartment, call the police
  • If a stranger asks to use your phone, get the information and place the call for the requestor, do not allow any stranger into your home
  • Never let it be known that you are home alone
  • Avoid going out alone at night
  • Always check the back seat of your car before entering
  • Keep your doors locked and windows rolled up at all times
  • Always park in a well lit busy location
  • If someone tries to force their way into your car, blow the horn
  • Keep your car properly maintained
  • If you think you are being followed by another car do not go home, drive to the nearest police or fire station, open gas station, or other well-lit place, do not get out of your car, rather, use your horn to summons help
  • Be sure your house, garage and driveway are well lit
  • When you reach home, leave your car lights on until you open the garage and have your house key ready before you get out of the car
  • Leave your car in gear when you have to stop at intersections
  • When you go out, be sure to let someone know your destination, route and expected time of return
  • Use busy, well-lit streets when possible
  • Be sure you have enough gas to get to your location
  • If you wish to help a stranded motorist, do not stop, go to the nearest telephone and call for help
  • If you park your vehicle during the day and return at night, park near the street and building lights when possible
  • Stay alert and attuned to things going on around you, do not leave your car if you observe any suspicious persons in the area
  • Have your car key ready before you approach the car so you do not make yourself vulnerable while searching for the right key
  • When parking in a valet lot, leave only your ignition key
  • o If your car breaks-down in an isolated area, turn on the emergency blinkers, raise your hood, get back in your car as quickly as possible, lock your doors and keep the windows rolled up. If someone stops, ask that they send help, do not get out of your vehicle or accept rides from anyone other than properly identified repair and delivery personnel.
  • Never open your door to anyone you do not know. Always verify by telephone that these persons work for the company they say they represent and have been sent for the reason stated.
  • o Most service company employees carry identification cards. Examine the identification carefully. If such a person does not have an ID, get their name and call the company they claim to represent before letting them in.
  • Never give a caller any reason to think you are home alone
  • Do not give your name, phone number or address to a telephone caller
  • Hang up on obscene or frightening phone calls. If they persist, blow a whistle loudly into the mouthpiece. Write down the date, time, and what was said and heard in each call.
  • If threatening or obscene calls persist, report them to the phone company and block the phone number after making a police report.
  • If you are worried about someone who is waiting for the elevator with you, pretend you forgot something, and do not get on it.
  • Do not enter an elevator if there is a person on it whom you are suspicious of. Wait for the next elevator.
  • Look inside the elevator to be certain no one is hiding inside before getting on
  • Stand near the control panel
  • Familiarize yourself with the emergency buttons of the elevator
  • If you are attacked, push the alarm and as many floor buttons as possible
  • Get off if someone suspicious enters

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Protecting Against Sexual Assault

  • Avoid walking alone at night
  • Walk only on busy, well lighted streets
  • Vary your daily routine
  • Carry a whistle
  • Do not walk too closely to the inside of a sidewalk, near bushes, alley entrances, driveways or entrances to private places
  • Try not to overload yourself with packages
  • Do not hitchhike or accept rides from strangers
  • If a car approaches and the driver bothers you, walk in the opposite direction
  • If someone asks you for directions from their car, do not walk over to them, make them speak louder
  • Don’t walk through dark parking lots, parks or other dark places
  • If you think someone is following you, do not go home, go instead to a neighbor’s house, open business or other well lighted place where there should be people to help you
  • If you arrive home by taxi or with a friend, ask them to wait until you are inside your home
  • Keep doors locked at all times
  • Do not hide door keys outside your home
  • If door keys have been lost, change locks or re-key immediately
  • Avoid giving your house keys to anyone other than family members or trusted friends
  • Be sure the exterior of your home is well lighted at night
  • Instruct children never to answer a doorbell or a knock at the door
  • Put curtains or blinds on all windows and keep them closed at night
  • Install solid wood or metal doors equipped with good deadbolt locks
  • Move exterior door hinges to the interior or install non-removable hinge pins
  • Install a wide-angel peephole for a full view outside the door
  • Do not leave clubs or night spots with strangers or invite them to your apartment or home
  • When moving into a house or apartment, change or re-key all locks
  • Know the neighbors you can trust in an emergency
  • When returning home, have your keys ready and enter the house as quickly as possible
  • Use your initials rather than your first name in the phone book and on your mailbox
  • If you hear a prowler inside your house, get out of the house, if possible, through a back door or window to avoid any confrontation with the prowler
  • If you sense that something is not right, do not go into your home or apartment, call the police
  • If a stranger asks to use your phone, get the information and place the call for the requestor, do not allow any stranger into your home
  • Never let it be known that you are home alone
  • Avoid going out alone at night
  • Always check the back seat of your car before entering
  • Keep you doors locked and windows rolled up at all times
  • Always park in a well lighted busy location
  • If someone tries to force their way into your car, blow the horn
  • Keep you car properly maintained
  • If you think you are being followed by another car do not go home, drive to the nearest police or fire station, open gas station, or other well lighted place, do not get out of your car, rather, use your horn to summons help
  • Be sure your house, garage and driveway are well lighted
  • When you reach home, leave your car lights on until you open the garage and have your house key ready before you get out of the car
  • Leave your car in gear when you have to stop at intersections
  • When you go out, be sure to let someone know your destination, route and expected time of return
  • Use busy, well lighted streets when possible
  • Be sure you have enough gas to get to your location
  • If you wish to help a stranded motorist, do not stop, go to the nearest telephone and call for help
  • If you park during the day and return at night, park near street and building lights when possible
  • Stay alert and attuned to things going on around you, do not leave your car in you observe any suspicious persons in the area
  • Have your car key ready before you approach the car so you do not make yourself vulnerable while searching for the right key
  • When parking in a valet lot, leave only your ignition key
  • If your car breaks down in an isolated area, turn on the emergency blinkers, raise your hood, get back in your car as quickly as possible, lock you doors and keep the windows rolled up, if someone stops, ask that they send help, do not get out of your vehicle or accept rides from anyone Repair & Delivery Personnel.
  • Never open your door to anyone you do not know. Always verify by telephone that these persons work for the company they say they represent and have been sent for the reason stated.
  • Most service company employees carry identification cards. Examine the identification carefully. If such a person does not have an ID, get their names and phone the company they claim to represent before letting them in.
  • Never give a caller any reason to think you are home alone
  • Do not give your name, phone number or address to a telephone caller
  • Hang up on obscene or frightening phone calls. If they persist, blow a whistle loudly into the mouthpiece. Write down the date, time, and what was said and heard in each call.
  • If threatening or obscene call persist, report them to the phone company after making a police report

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Stormwater Fee Credit & Appeals

Incorrect Parcel Billed – This can originate from an incorrect mailing address, a recent property transaction, or an account for impervious surface being assessed to the incorrect parcel

Incorrect Parcel Classification – This can originate when a parcel is under development or re-development and the original property classification no longer applies, or if there is a change in use of the parcel from non-residential to residential.

Incorrect Impervious Area – The impervious surface area on a parcel is collected via two mechanisms. One, via flyover and aerial imagery. Two, via engineering plan submittals. However, aerial imagery mapping could be inaccurate, development & re-development may remove impervious surfaces that were once previously mapped, or gravel locations may be mapped as impervious surfaces when an allotment of gravel locations may qualify as semi-impervious.

A parcel owner may reallocate a stormwater utility fee charge to other parcel owners. However, the impervious surface, for which the fee exists, must exist to serve the adjacent or adjoining parcel and the parcel owner receiving the fee must provide documentation indicating that their parcel doesn’t benefit from that impervious surface. Additionally, the adjoining or adjacent parcel owner(s), to which the fee is being reallocated to, must agree to accept the new fees from the re-allocation.

  • Stormwater Utility Fee Appeal Form or a Stormwater Utility Fee Reallocation Application found in Appendix A of the Stormwater Utility Fee Credit and Appeals Manual.
  • Right-of-Entry Agreement found in Appendix C.
  • Supporting documentation that proves your claims under one of the available appeal grievances.

Granted appeals- can be retroactively applied to the current property owners’ bill for payments received up to three years prior to the effective date of the granted appeal, but no earlier than January 14, 2019. To receive reimbursement, the basis or conditions for the appeal granted must have been in place on the property for all previous years. The property owner must provide evidence satisfactory to the County Engineer establishing the existence of the basis or conditions for the appeal for those years.

Any non-residential property subject to the stormwater utility fee may be eligible for a reduction in their fee through stormwater utility fee credits.

The credit will apply only to developed land containing a Berkeley County Stormwater Management Program (SWMP) approved Stormwater Control Measure (SCM) eligible for the credit. These measures can include on-site practices such as bioretention cells, vegetated swales, and other practices that manage stormwater at its source.

Credits are available only when qualifying SCMs have been properly installed and maintained, whether implemented before or after initiation of the County’s Stormwater Utility Ordinance.

Stormwater Utility accounts with past-due balances will not be eligible to apply for stormwater fee credits. Existing credited Stormwater Utility accounts not paying their stormwater charges will be deemed ineligible for future credit and revocation of existing credits.

Credit earned = (% Credit eligible for a SCM) x (Stormwater Fee) x (% of impervious or pervious area treated)

For example, if a site has a detention pond installed which qualifies the site for a 20% credit toward its Stormwater Utility fees, but only 50% of the impervious area on-site drains to the pond, then the site can only be granted a 10% credit (20%*50%). Furthermore, if the fee paid for the site is $350, then the site receiving a 10% credit will have a fee of $315 throughout the entirety of the property owner’s ownership.

Non-residential property owners can apply for credits from any or a combination of the categories listed in Credit & Appeals Manual. The maximum allowable credit is 42% of the gross billing amount for commercial, industrial, tax-exempt and non-profit, institutional, HOA common areas, multi-family (duplexes and townhomes not subdivided by parcel lines), boat slips (dry stack marinas), and properties whose primary function is not a single-family residence or mobile home residence, regardless of how many individual credits for which the property qualifies.

To apply for a credit, the non-residential property owner or his/her representative must complete a Credit Application or Renewal Credit Application form (Appendix A), a Right-of-Entry form (Appendix C), and a Maintenance Covenant for specific stormwater control measures (Appendix D) to furnish to the Berkeley County SWMP. To be considered complete, all applications must include all required owner contact information, property information, the “type” of credit selected, and a brief description of the proposed credit. It is recommended that you provide all supporting calculations, plans, sketches, photos, and other documentation which may assist the County in reviewing the Credit Application. All credits will be verified by the County Engineer or designee to ensure compliance with this credit manual.

All Credit Applications must be submitted before May 1st of each year and if it meets the requirements of the Stormwater Utility Fee Credit & Appeals Manual, will be approved by July 1st in that given calendar year for any awarded credits to be applied on the subsequent years billing cycle. The County will issue a letter of acceptance or denial of a yearly credit renewal request within forty-five (45) business days of receiving the request. Denied renewal requests may be resubmitted addressing Berkeley County comments but must be received no later than July 1st.

The below table summarizes the potential credits available to non-residential property owners within Berkeley County. Each credit is explained in further detail within the Stormwater Utility Fee Credit & Appeals Manual.

For more detail please read the chart bellow

Granted credits – can be retroactively applied to the current property owners’ bill for payments received up to three years prior to the effective date of the granted credit, but no earlier than January 14, 2019. To receive reimbursement, the credit being sought must have been in place on the property for all previous years. The property owner must provide evidence satisfactory to the County Engineer establishing the existence of the credit for those years.

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Stormwater Utility Fee

It is an annual fee assessed on the developed properties in the unincorporated area of Berkeley County, City of Goose Creek, and City of Hanahan (via Inter-Governmental Agreements) to fund the County’s, Goose Creek’s, Hanahan’s, and the Town of St. Stephen’s Stormwater Management Program (SWMP) and to comply with the regulatory requirements of each respective entities MS4 Permit.

Under the federal Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) rules and regulations mandate Berkeley County to comply with the MS4 Permit. The MS4 Permit requires the County to develop, implement, and enforce a Stormwater Management Program to reduce the discharge of pollutants from Berkeley County’s MS4 to the maximum extent practicable (MEP), to protect water quality, and to satisfy the appropriate water quality requirements of the Clean Water Act. Additionally, Berkeley County signed Inter-Governmental Agreements with the City of Goose Creek and the City of Hanahan that require the County to develop, implement, and enforce a Stormwater Management Program within each respective municipality.

Berkeley County’s Stormwater Management Program is responsible for all stormwater related activities such as construction and post construction inspections, storm sewer mapping, illicit discharge detection and elimination, water quality monitoring, sampling, and tracking, and other SWMP tasks required by the MS4 Permit. The goals of the program are to protect, maintain, and enhance water quality and the environment of the County, Goose Creek, and Hanahan as well as the short-term and long-term public health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of the County, Goose Creek, and Hanahan.

Stormwater Utility Fee is assessed based on the funding required to implement the SWMP in the County, Goose Creek, and Hanahan. Each year as part of the annual budget process, costs and revenues will be reviewed and adjusted to ensure a balance in SWMP funding. A Stormwater Management Utility Rate Study was performed to establish permanent stormwater utility fees and classifications. The permanent fee schedule will be based on the amount of impervious area a developed non-residential parcel contains. Section 7 of the amended Ordinance describes the permanent fee and classification system.

An area modified to the extent that natural infiltration into the natural soil has become impeded. Impervious surfaces are accounted for in private walkways, parking lots, driveways, rooftops, patios, sheds, etc. Below are examples of impervious surface.

All developed properties in the unincorporated area of Berkeley County, the City of Goose Creek, and the City of Hanahan, including properties containing single and multifamily residences, mobile homes, nonresidential (commercial or industrial) land uses, tax exempt and non-profit properties are charged with a Stormwater Utility Fee. The fee will not be imposed on agricultural lands, forestlands, or undeveloped lands.

The established average impervious surface area associated with single-family residential (SFR) properties will be assessed at 1 ERU and applied uniformly to all mobile home units and SFR units.

Non-residential properties will be assessed in multiples of ERUs based on actual impervious areas (subject to a 1 ERU minimum). This category of properties includes the following properties classified as:

  1. Commercial Property
  2. Industrial Property
  3. Institutional Property
  4. HOA Community Center Property
  5. Multi-Family to include Duplexes and townhomes not subdivided by parcel lines
  6. Tax-exempt and Non-profit
  7. Boat Slips (Dry Stack Marinas)
  8. Properties whose primary function is not a single-family residence

Common areas associated with mobile home parks, multi-family and single-family residential development will be assessed like non-residential properties and charged to the HOA or property management.

Yes, churches, schools, and non-profit organizations will pay a Stormwater Utility Fee.

The following table shows the annual fee, devised via a Stormwater Management Utility Rate Study. The study employs an impervious surface model utilizing, impervious ft2 ÷ 2,760 ft2/(ERU Fee) calculation, with modifiers and variables for agricultural land, forested land, and undeveloped land.

Example: A parcel containing 915,447 ft² (21.01 ac.) of impervious surface

915,447 ft² ÷ 2,760 ft² / ERU = 331.68 (rounded to nearest ERU = 332 ERU)
332 ERU x $36.00 / ERU = $11,952/year

Property Class Base ERU
Single Family Residential 1 ERU/Unit
Nonresidential (Commercial/Industrial) Impervious ft2 ÷ 2,760 ft2/ (ERU Fee)
Multi-family Impervious ft2 ÷ 2,760 ft2/ (ERU Fee)
Mobile Homes 1 ERU/Unit
Tax-exempt and Non-profit Impervious ft2 ÷ 2,760 ft2/ (ERU Fee)
Vacant/Undeveloped Not Assessed
Monthly ERU Fee $3.00
Annual ERU Fee $36.00
*for parcels containing multiple residences on the parcel, an annual fee per unit will be assessed

Yes, most communities in the coastal area have instituted a Stormwater Utility Fee including Charleston County, Dorchester County, City of Folly Beach, City of Isle of Palms, Town of James Island, Town of Lincolnville, Town of Sullivan’s Island, Town of Mount Pleasant, City of Charleston, City of North Charleston, Town of Summerville, Beaufort County, Town of Hilton Head, Georgetown County, Horry County, City of Conway, City of Myrtle Beach, and City of North Myrtle Beach.

Yes, the Stormwater Utility Fee can be appealed within thirty days of the mailing of the Tax Notice. The appeal procedure is explained in Section 13 of the amended Ordinance and within the Berkeley County Stormwater Utility Fee Credit & Appeals Manual. Please see the below link, Stormwater Utility Fee Credits & Appeals.

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Treasurer

The Treasurer does not maintain property or owner records. The Real Property Services Office (Assessor) and Auditor maintain these records and are dependent on taxpayers to notify their offices of changes in address.

The Treasurer does not determine property tax amounts. The amount of tax money needed is decided by each of the area’s taxing authorities. The Real Property Services (Assessor’s) Office determines appraisal values for real property while the Auditor calculates the tax.

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Veterans Affairs

By filing, either electronically or by mail, an SF 180 request for military records. The website for this is www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/ or https://www.va.gov/

There is a program by which a veteran or surviving spouse may obtain monetary assistance to help pay the cost of assisted living or nursing home. The veteran must have served at least one day during a time of war and meet certain other eligibility requirements.

The laws governing Veterans Benefits are constantly changing. Contact our office for the most current information, or log on to www.va.gov.

There are two benefits available to certain widows / orphans of veterans:

1. Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for survivors of veterans who die from service related causes

OR

2. Wartime Veterans survivor pension for certain survivors who meet income and / or medical requirements.

Veterans who are receiving compensation for service connected disabilities that have worsened should apply for an increase in compensation by contacting this office or applying on line at benefits.va.gov/benefits/vonapp.asp or https://www.va.gov/.

Certain veterans who meet eligibility requirements may qualify for Wartime Veteran’s pension, even if they did not serve in combat.

Veterans seeking health care through a VA Medical Center are placed into one of eight priority groups, based on percentage of service connected disability and /or financial status. Contact the Eligibility Office at the Charleston VAMC at 843-577-5011 or 888-878-6884

Children of veterans who are deemed 100% Permanently and Totally disabled by Veterans Affairs or received the Purple Heart may be eligible for assistance with college tuition.

All veterans who were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions are eligible for a grave marker or headstone provided by Veterans Affairs and burial in a National Cemetery. Assistance with the cost of funeral expenses may be available to families of certain veterans in receipt of compensation or pension through VA at the time of death.

Recent changes in the law governing VA Benefits make it possible for eligible veterans to transfer education benefits to certain family members. Specific information can be obtained through https://www.va.gov/ or speaking to a VA Education Counselor at 888-442-4551.

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Voters Registration & Elections

Proof of residency in Berkeley County. Example: driver’s license, tax receipt, utilities bill, etc.

Potential jurors are randomly selected from voter registration lists, driver’s license and DMV identification lists. Your chances of being chosen for jury duty are just as great if you have a current state driver’s license.

Yes, a voter does not have to have their voter registration card to vote, but all voters must have an approved photo ID to vote. The address on these cards must correspond with address on record in the voter registration office.

If you still live within the county, yes. Depending on the location of the move, the voter may have to vote a fail-safe ballot. It is very important to notify the office of any address or name changes.

No. Only the individual, a member of the immediate family, or a designated authorized representative may request an absentee application.

No. Ballots are voted in the absentee poll or sent by mail. Exceptions made only in emergency cases.

Yes. You do not have to vote in a Primary to be eligible to vote in November.

State of South Carolina does not register by party. Party is only declared in Primary elections.

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