Indian Land residents decide whether or not to incorporate

INDIAN LAND, SC (WBTV) - After years of discussion and debate it is finally decision day in Indian Land. Voters head to the polls to decide whether or not Indian Land should become its own town.

The idea partially started from some residents in Indian Land feeling unrepresented by the Lancaster County Council.

"I'm voting 'yes' because I think we need to take control and have more of a voice here," Sandra Benson said.

Like other supporters of township, Benson believes a town council would be stricter on what businesses would be allowed to move to Indian Land. She hopes more control would allow for infrastructure to catch up.

"There's a lot of building and they're not taking into consideration the infrastructure and we're suffering form it," Benson said.

"I'm tired of Lancaster County Council rezoning everything to allow development and overcrowding and putting more units on an acre of land, " David Benson said.

On the other side of the debate, some of those who are against Indian Land's potential incorporation say more government will not improve the area.

"I don't want to add a layer of government that is not going to provide any additional services. There's a lot of great economic prosperity happening and we don't need government to slow that down," Scott Babbiddge said.

"No need for more layers of government. I think the upcoming 2020 consensus will show the growth in this area and then we will get more seats on the county board {Lancaster County Council}," Bob Andrzejewski said.

Others are concerned about an increase in taxes. Council members confirmed that if incorporated, Indian Land citizens would have to pay both town and county taxes. According to townofindianland.org, the proposed plan would mean a house worth $250,000 would be required to pay $122 in town taxes, in addition to county taxes per year. Click here for more information.

According to County Administrator Steve Willis, they estimate Indian Land has roughly 29,000 people who live there. He says according to state law, if a town has more than 1,000 people it is required to fund its own law enforcement services. Meaning, if incorporated, Indian Land would need to either start its own police department or contract with the sheriff's office.

Van Wyck, which recently became incorporated, is less than 1,000 people and does not have to fund its own services.

Willis says if incorporated, the town would also have to fund its own road work. Fire services would be determined by the newly elected town council, it is not required under state law that the town has to fund its own.

If the incorporation passes, Indian Land would not immediately become its own town. The next step would be another election in which a mayor and four council members are appointed, according to Willis. After that election is complete, the secretary of state has to sign the incorporation certificate.

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