Edgefield County tops best S.C. county list

May 4, 2016

Edgefield County Administrator Tommy Paradise has been on the job for only three months, and is already starting to enjoy the fruits of his labors in his new work home.

SmartAsset, a financial technology company, has ranked Edgefield County as the No. 1 county in South Carolina for getting the best bang for its buck.

“Edgefield County is a great place to be,” Paradise said. “It is a friendly community.”

A longtime City of Aiken employee and former city interim planning director, Paradise left Aiken in February to become Edgefield County’s administrator.

Based out of New York City, SmartAsset provides transparent, automated and accurate advice on big personal finance decisions and helps users arrive at the best answers and make the best decisions concerning their finances, according to its website.

The study aims to find the places in the United States where people are getting the most for their property tax dollars, Paradise said. SmartAsset reviews school ranking, crime rates and property taxes for every county.

“County Council is frugal with the dollar,” he said “They haven’t had to raise taxes in six years. Both the local towns and sheriff’s departments are doing a good job of keeping crime down.”

Paradise added the county’s schools have been a pleasant surprise to those who aren’t familiar with Aiken’s neighbors to the north.

“Our education here is a hidden gem,” he said. “People are just now finding out how fine our schools are in Edgefield County.”

It is the second straight year Edgefield County has been ranked at the top of South Carolina’s 46 counties.

Aiken County ranked 17th in the state, with Charleston holding a rank at 27. Marion County was named the worst county in the Palmetto State for offering the best bang for taxpayers’ buck.

The top 10 ranked counties in the state are Edgefield, Cherokee, Chesterfield, Abbeville, Kershaw, Saluda, Lexington, Pickens, Oconee and Berkeley counties.

Paradise said the word is starting to get out about Edgefield County and the fine place it is for business and families to call home.

“We’re seeing an increased activity and interest in people doing developments and putting rooftops in Edgefield County,” he said. “I feel very positive about the direction Edgefield County is heading.”

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