Wednesday, May 14, 2014
By Lindsay Street
Associations representing citizens on Daniel Island have voted to abandon an effort to leave Berkeley County for the greener pastures of Charleston County.
It was hoped the annexation would mean lower taxes and a different school district. If Daniel Island left the county, it would have taken some of the costliest homes off the tax rolls. The Post and Courier reported that the Daniel Island Neighborhood Association voted May 6 to uphold a decision by the Daniel Island Property Owners Association not to spend an additional $100,000 to continue the effort, navigating state laws.
“State annexation laws are simply archaic, ill-defined, and provide no clarity on some of the most pressing questions, such as school district lines, debt allocation and even surveying requirements,” Jane Baker, vice president of community services for the Daniel Island Property Owners Association, told the Post and Courier.
In February, the state’s attorney general issued an opinion that if Daniel Island annexed into Charleston County, the school district would not necessarily change, keeping students in Berkeley County School District, since county lines do not define school districts. Leaving the district was a top priority for many parents who were unhappy with the district.
Berkeley County Councilman Tim Callanan represents the people of Daniel Island and has opposed the annexation to Charleston County since the beginning. He told the Independent that while he has opposed the annexation, concerns raised by citizens are “legitimate.”
Callanan said his district has been last for road improvements and new schools, and it pushed the citizens over the edge. But he said if they want changes, the associations representing the citizens went about it the wrong way.
“I don’t deny there is a problem, I’ve been fighting it for years but this approach was just awful. I can’t think of a worse way of trying to get something done by holding a gun to somebody’s head,” Callanan said. “No one ever came up to county council or came up to me. And I’m sitting there (on council) fighting this battle for attention and infrastructure and resources and tax relief, and rather than approach me or county and say, ‘Hey, we have these concerns’ … they just took a more drastic step to immediately go to petition and annexation.”
Callanan said the effort was successful in pushing the school district to build new schools for Daniel Island, but now with the threat of annexation over, more changes will come.
“I’m going to get people together and we’re going to talk … (and) it’ll be a lot easier to do without having annexation over our heads,” Callanan said. “It’s not over by any means.”