Review of Impact of Corps of Engineers Owned Land in McCormick County, South Carolina

GGD-78-41: Published: Jan 27, 1978. Publicly Released: Jan 27, 1978.

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McCormick County, South Carolina, has experienced financial problems due to federal ownership of large portions of county land. Legislative alternatives suggested to alleviate this problem include: (1) require the Corps of Engineers to pay a percentage of timber harvest sales receipts to local governments; (2) require that a portion of power plant revenues be paid to local counties; (3) permit local governments to tax the value of Corps of Engineers land leased to private groups and individuals; and (4) require federal agencies to pay localities an amount equal to the tax revenue such property would generate if privately owned. A proposed development comprising approximately 800 acres which would include a motel, marina, cabins, picnic areas, and a commercial service center has been leased from the Corps of Engineers by the Clark Hill Authority, a state agency, and will be sublet to private developers. Auctioning a 128 acre parcel would enable the county to retain other lands and would be compatible with the Corps of Engineers master plan for development. Aside from this project, McCormick County has no long-range plan for optimal lake development. Another situation which may contribute to the county's financial difficulties is the low property assessment rate. The Advisory Commission in Intergovernmental Relations has found that federal land ownership generally does not adversely affect local government finances.

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