Council OKs 95% tax break for ‘village’

WINNSBORO – The majority five Fairfield Council members gave final approval Sept.12 for generous tax breaks to the “Teacher Village” a controversial housing project still lacking final approval from the Town of Winnsboro.

The vote passed 5-2, with council members Doug Pauley and Clarence Gilbert opposing. Pauley noted Teacher Village plans have not been submitted to the town.

Winnsboro Town Manager Jason Taylor said before the Teacher Village can move forward, the school district must still submit plans for basic infrastructure, such as water and sewer, roads and electricity.

The district must also submit plans to Winnsboro showing how lots would be laid out, he said.

Pauley also called the tax breaks into question.

“If eight homes are built at $200,000 value, you’re looking at approximately $42,000 in tax relief,” Pauley said.

Supporters say the Teacher Village is vital to attracting and retaining quality teachers.

At the meeting, it was suggested the teachers that move to Fairfield will help offset the county’s population losses.

From 2010 to 2020, Fairfield’s population plunged 12.6 percent, shedding 3,008 residents during that stretch, according to census figures.

Under the current county administration another 258 people departed between April 1, 2020 and July 1, 2021, close to the previous departure rate, census figures show.

Fairfield’s population losses dwarf any potential population gains from the Teacher Village.

Phase I calls for the construction of eight homes, resulting in only 32 new residents assuming a family of four per home.

The Teacher Village proposes 30 homes at 100% development.

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