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Letter to the Editor

Rainsford Responds to Delinquent Taxes, Resigns as ECDC Chairman

web posted December 14, 2010

Dear Editor:
Responding to your article of December 9, 2010 in regard to the unpaid property taxes at Mount Vintage, I certainly acknowledge that the unprecedented slump in real estate has caused the Mount Vintage companies and me personally substantial challenges. 

I did not anticipate that any slump would be nearly this long or this deep.  As a result, I have been dealt the most difficult challenge that I have faced in my nearly thirty-five years in business.  It is my hope and expectation that somehow we will get beyond the current problems and reposition Mount Vintage to grow and prosper to the benefit of the residents there and to the county at large.
However, county citizens should need to be aware that – in any event – the unpaid taxes will ultimately be collected, as the lien of these taxes will take precedence over any other liens, including first mortgage liens. Additionally, given the penalties and interest which are charged on unpaid taxes, the county stands to benefit substantially from the late payment of these and other late taxes.
Since you have raised the question of the County’s need for tax revenue, county citizens may be interested to know that, prior to my involvement with the area which is now within Mount Vintage, this property produced approximately $15,000 in annual tax revenue. 

Today, it produces approximately $1.4 million in annual tax revenue. That is not such a bad deal for the county. Additionally, the other commercial and industrial activities in which I have been involved in Edgefield County over the last thirty-five years produce another $500,000 to $600,000 in annual tax revenue. Thus, the county currently benefits to the tune of approximately $2 million annually for my efforts over the years. Not too bad for a “deadbeat” as you have termed me.
You seem to be extraordinarily bothered by the fact that I serve as the Chairman of the Economic Development Committee of the County. Indeed, I have been privileged to serve in this capacity for a number of years. Our Committee consists of representatives of our County Council, the towns of Edgefield, Johnston and Trenton, our Water & Sewer Authority, our School Board, our County Administrator, our Chief Building Official and others invited by our County Council Chairman. 

The Committee meets monthly with the staff of the Economic Development Partnership of Aiken and Edgefield Counties to discuss economic development strategies, opportunities and problems.  While I have been disappointed that we have not produced more positive results than we have, I am deeply appreciative for the time and positive input of our Committee members and believe that we have kept a regular and consistent focus on the economic development challenges for Edgefield County.
You and I do agree on one thing, albeit for far different reasons: The time has come for me to resign from this Committee and to give others the chance to serve. Therefore, I will be tendering my resignation as Chairman and Member of the Economic Development Committee effective December 31, 2010.

However, those who know me will know that I will continue, as a private citizen, to work for the progress and prosperity of Edgefield County to the maximum extent of my abilities.
Bettis C. Rainsford

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