More ferry services could be coming to Daufuskie Island - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

More ferry services could be coming to Daufuskie Island

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DAUFUSKIE ISLAND, SC (WTOC) -

Beaufort County's $99.4 million budget for the 2014 fiscal year includes $200,000 for ferry services, and a study that would test long term transportation options to get to and form Daufuskie Island.

The proposal calls for $150,000 to go towards the operation of the current ferry service, and $50,000 will be used for the study.

The ferry service currently runs twice a day, and two Saturdays a month. County officials say this proposed study will increase ferry services, which will have a positive impact on the Island's economy and property value.

Many county residents, like Doug James, say this is a great idea.

"Right now, folks who live on the island are handicapped by the lack of transportation," said James. "It is also hurting the sale and resale of homes over there. If I was looking to buy something over there, I wouldn't consider it because of the lack of transportation."

According to the county and area real estate agents, property value on Daufuskie Island has decreased by 43 percent over the past five years. The average cost of a home in 2008 was nearly $572,000, and now it's $400,000.

Some agents say there are some properties on the Island that have a listing price of just $1.

"If we can find a solution to the ferry situation it will help the property values out there because more people will get out there," said Joy Nelson, spokesperson for Beaufort County.

County officials are trying to recruit experts from states with successful ferry systems to come up with a lasting solution for Daufuskie Island.

According to Nelson, some council members are on the fence about the budget because it also raises property taxes. Nelson says the county has not had a property tax increase in nearly five but raising taxes is one way to avoid county-wide layoffs.

If the taxes are increased, those who live in  house worth $100,000 will pay $11 more in taxes, and those who live in a home worth $200,000 will pay $15 more.

County council is expected to vote on the budget at their upcoming meeting, which is scheduled for next Monday. 

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