Aiken County, South Carolina

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Budget
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Meetings
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Elected Officials
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Administrative Officials
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Permits, zoning
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Audits
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Contracts
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Lobbying
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Public records Y
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Local taxes Y
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Transparency grading process
Aiken County is one of 46 counties in South Carolina. In 2000, its population was 142,552; in 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that its population had reached 150,181.[1] Its county seat is Aiken. Aiken County is part of the Augusta, Georgia metropolitan area.

Website evaluation

In 2011, the Aiken County earned a Sunny Awards for having a perfect website transparency score.

This website was most recently reviewed an unknown date.

The good

  • Budget
    • The most current budget is listed.
    • Budgets are archived for 15 years.[2]
  • Administrative Officials
    • Department heads are listed for each department.[3]
    • Contact information for administrative officials is provided including a mailing address, phone number, and personalized email.
  • Elected Officials
    • Elected officials are listed with a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[4]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes are archived for 40 years.
    • Meeting agendas are archived for 6 years.[5]
    • A meeting calendar is available and names the times and locations of public meetings.[6]
  • Audits
    • The most recent audit is posted.
    • Audits dating back to 2005 are available.[7]
  • Contracts
    • Bids and RFPs are posted online.
    • Approved contract statements are provided for vendors.[8]
  • Public Records
    • The public information officer is identified and maintained by the Public Information Officer. This person provides a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[9]
    • A public records form is provided.[10]
  • Taxes
    • Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state, and local funding in the budget.
    • Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.[11]
    • Residents are able to pay taxes online.[12]
  • Lobbying
  • Permits and zoning
    • Zoning ordinances are posted online.
    • Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.[13]

The bad

  • Contract information does not contain amounts, but county posts other contract information and check registers.

County Council

County Council makes policy decisions for Aiken County, as established in state law. Council's nine members serve four-year terms; eight members are elected from single-member districts with the Chairman elected at-large. A Council Clerk provides administrative support and maintains official records of Council meetings and activities. A full-time County Administrator, hired by Council, is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the County.[14]

County Administrators

The Administrator's Office is in charge of implementation of policies, procedures and regulations adopted by the Aiken County Council and ensure compliance of these policies by county departments. The Administrator prepares and recommends the annual operating budget and capital program to County Council and supervises the implementation of the approved budget. He is responsible for administration of all county departments under the supervision of Council; elected and appointed officials are not responsible to County Council, but to the voters of the County or the board which appoints them.[15]

Taxes

The County website posts a 'Taxpayer's Guide' that gives information on local taxes. The South Carolina Constitution provides for the following ratios to be applied to the market value or use value of property to arrive at the assessed value:[16]

  • Your home (legal residence)...........................................................4.0%
  • Second home (or any residential property where you do not live)........6.0%
  • Agriculture real property (privately owned)........................................4.0%
  • Agricultural property (corporate owned)............................................6.0%
  • Commercial real property................................................................6.0%
  • Manufacturing real and personal property........................................10.5%
  • Utility real and personal property ...................................................10.5%
  • Personal property.........................................................................10.5%
  • Railroads, airlines, pipelines (real and personal property)...................9.5%
  • Personal passenger motor vehicles.................................................6.0%
  • Business motor vehicles................................................................10.5%

External links

References