Florence County files second lawsuit to stop creation of West Florence Fire District

The lawsuit, filed in 12th Circuit Court of Common Pleas, against the fire district

Florence County Council filed a second lawsuit Tuesday morning to stop the creation of the West Florence Fire District.

The lawsuit, filed in 12th Circuit Court of Common Pleas, names the district and its five commissioners.

State House Bill H. 5225 was passed into law in May creating a separate fire district in West Florence and removing the community from Florence County's new consolidated fire district which merged six districts into one.

Council first filed a suit to stop the district in the SC Supreme Court, but the Court ruled last month that it will not hear the matter.

Residents in West Florence were upset that the change would mean higher taxes for them, but both districts have raised taxes for residents since the change.

Florence County Council gave first reading to an ordinance two weeks ago to raise taxes to adequately fund the consolidated district.

That changes the milage rate in the district from 20.5 to 27.5 mills for operations, which equates to about a $36 increase per year on a $100,000 house.

The newly elected West Florence Fire District Board of Commissioners voted last week to also raise taxes from 8 mills to 12.75 mills within its district, according to Commissioner Dustin Fails.

Fails said the increase amounts to about $25 a year on a home valued at $100,000 in West Florence.

Fails said last week they needed to slightly raise taxes to fight the expected lawsuit against them and to help fund the district.

The West Florence Fire District has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit.

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