Historic appointment at Richland County tax office

Paying your taxes is something just about everyone doesn't like to do. The man behind taxes in Richland County speaks to WACH Fox about making history.

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Paying your taxes just about everyone doesn't like that idea. But what happens if you're the man behind it all.

â??Iâ??ve always enjoyed numbers so you have to be somewhat of a numbers cruncher to be in this position,â?? says Paul Brawley, Richland County Auditor.

Paul Brawley is the Richland County Auditor.

â??We assist county council at setting the mileage rate and the mileage rate is the tax rate that we use for everybodyâ??s tax bills,â?? says Brawley.

Brawley was elected in 2006.

That turned out to be historic because he became the first African American auditor for Richland County.

â??I take that as a badge of honor of being the first. I work hard and I still work hard to ensure that people can feel confident in my ability not only to do this job but do it in a caring way and making sure that everyone is treated fairly,â?? says Brawley.

So what does an auditor do?

â??Alot of statistical data, trend analysis to look at things to make sure again you meet budget projections,â?? says Brawley.

Well his office takes your tax payments and it's distributed to different agencies across the county.

â??In calculating the mileage rate we meet budget projections for the school districts in Richland County, for the library. In essence we end up taxing over 650 million dollars to make sure we support all of the budgets of the county,â?? says Brawley.

All of that money coming from your house, car, business and other property items.

â??We have over 20 billion dollars in taxable properly in Richland County,â?? says Brawley.

As we remember Black History Month, Brawley says he's thankful for several local African American pioneers.

â??I.S Leevy Johnson in the House of Representatives, Senator Kay Patterson folks who first started in the senate,â?? says Brawley.

He points out that racism doesn't always come from where you expect it.

â??You can experience it from both ends. Even in your own race and outside of your race,â?? says Brawley.

Brawley adds he tries not to focus on race but it's something he can't escape.

â??I could just be Paul Brawley but somebody is going to see me as an African American. So we can try to strip that away as much as we would like, but its always going to be there,â?? says Brawley.

He plans on running for reelection in the fall.