Greenville County Council has not been afraid to throw its weight around regardless of what their constituents think. This past summer, the majority of the council rammed through the highest millage increase in Greenville County history. Watch these videos taken by constituents where the council rushed through voting without public comment as constituents voice their dissent and at one point are talked down to by the chair, Dan Tripp.

Greenville County Councilman Benton Blount represents District 19. While this is his first term as an elected county member, he has been holding the council accountable and keeping his constituents up-to-date with the issues that the council is handling. Below is a letter Councilman Blount posted on Facebook Tuesday, September 26th, 2023.

Councilman Blount’s Letter To Greenville County Constituents:

District 19 is about to have a first of its kind development forced into it. I say forced because both my predecessor and myself have fought to keep it from happening, and they have now manipulated the information surrounding it to hide how this all took place and are prepared to vote it in against both mine, and the constituents wishes. Much like project Woven less than a week ago, they are ignoring the requests of the community, district, and presiding Councilman. But this one is something that should terrify any concerned citizen, because they believe they know what’s best for you, more than you do!

“Cherokee Landing” is the newest attempt to shove affordable housing down the White Horse Road Corridor. It will sit directly behind the post office in Berea, in between WHR and Farrs Bridge Road.

The project is already 100% affordable housing!!!!

The developer received tax credits from the State. When they approached the County, they said they also wanted to seek a tax abatement (break) from the County, and I immediately said “not a chance”. They then gave me their word that they would be able to do it without coming to the County for a tax break. So Council approved the bond that they needed from the City, since the land is already zoned for apartments.

Fast forward several months. Literally in the middle of debating increasing property tax on Greenville citizens, the developer contacted me and said that they would now be coming back to the County to seek a 50% tax break for 20 years, for making 26 of the units even more “affordable”.

Last night, Finance Committee left out all of those details and voted in favor of pushing this through against my wishes. I sent an exhaustive letter to all members asking them to deny this tax abatement. While I’m thankful that Chairman Kirven at least gave me the decency of calling to discuss it, not one other member even acknowledged they received it. I would also like to mention that these are our leaders. They tried to blame the former Councilman of being the reason for the issue and delay, but I think you can cleary see that’s not the case! I would also like to add that every person that sits on finance, minus myself, also chair one of our committees. So our entire leadership on Council are willing to do this. What’s next???

It will be moving to full Council next week, and I fear they only need to lean on several new Councilman with manipulation and intimidation to force this through with absolutely no consideration for the people who live there or my role on this Council of representing the District.

I am seeking any and all public action and speakers. I am looking for anyone in Greenville County who does not support their tax dollars being mismanaged, to come out and speak up at the next Council meeting. You can obviously also send emails or call all on Council, requesting that they vote to deny this as well! But if we don’t have a showing, they will feel that they can get away with this, and obviously have zero respect for my opinion on the matter. I have seen it happen to often in my short time serving already.

They have attempted to use this new affordable housing tool twice so far. In each instance, both the Councilman and Constituents said they were opposed. This new tool will also be funded with a portion of your recently increased property taxes.

Isn’t that strange? They have to increase the taxes you pay, in order to decrease the taxes developers pay! Sounds like Greenville County has our priorities… order?

So that means the next one could be in your District. Your Council representation will either vote in favor, or be steamrolled by a new version of what they claimed they were ready to change back before I took office. I have tried to work with all of my colleagues being completely honest and transparent. As a result, some have shown me they are willing to use that gesture to take advantage of, manipulate, confuse, conflate, and alter public perception. Moving forward, I will continue to be completely honest and transparent. I will continue to seek to work with all members of Council to make Greenville a better place, and I will always treat them with respect. But I have lost any and all trust for several of our “leaders” and it’s something I don’t think I’ll ever completely get back.

To be clear. This is not a District issue, rather a County issue! They even admitted at the finance committee meeting that there are DOZENS just like these waiting in the pipeline.

Hope you can make it to the next Council meeting and please reach out to me if you need any additional information,

Benton Blount

District 19

Greenville County Council

Next Meeting

Greenville County Council will meet again on Tuesday, October 3, 2023 at 6pm. If you plan to speak, get there a little earlier in order to sign up. For more information on the members, click here. For more information on the meeting (which isn’t posted yet, but should be eventually) click here.

Make your voice heard.