One-cent sales tax is going to the ballot

By Heather Ruppe

Colleton County Council has approved an ordinance that will send the proposed one-percent sales tax into the hands of the voters.

Council met last week and unanimously approved its third and final reading on the ordinance that will create a countywide referendum on whether or not Colleton’s current one-percent sales tax should be extended for the next seven years.

With the council’s approval, the proposed one-percent sales tax will be on the ballot as a referendum in the upcoming November general election.

If Colleton County voters say yes to the referendum, that means the current one-percent Capital Project Sales Tax will be extended for another seven years. This extra one-cent sales tax will apply to retail sales only in Colleton County. It will potentially create millions of dollars in extra cash for the county. This extra cash will then be used to build special projects throughout the entire county. Already, leaders from towns across the county have presented their hopeful plans to a special commission. That commission then met and determined which projects would bring the most benefit to Colleton residents.

For example, the one-percent sales tax has been in place for the last eight years. During that time, county officials have used the approximately $32 million in extra funds that the one-cent sales tax created to help fund many projects. These projects have included the renourishment of Edisto Beach; enhancing the county’s recreation complex; refurbishing the Hampton Street Auditorium; and building the county’s new tax building.

Other projects throughout the county have also been funded with the money created from this extra penny tax.

Now, voters will determine if the one-cent sales tax should continue.

If voters approve the Capital Project Sales Tax in November, then a list of 11 new projects will be funded. This list has already been approved by a countywide commission, which was created by the Colleton County Council.

Currently, the projects are listed in the following order of importance:

A new Colleton County Animal Services Facility, at a requested amount of $3.3 million;

A Veterans Park, at a requested cost of $988,200;

A new Johnsville/Smoaks Community Center for the Town of Smoaks, at a requested cost of $937,000;

A new Colleton County Emergency Operations Center, at a requested cost of approximately $2.7 million;

Adding a new gym and activity rooms at the Colleton County Recreation Center, at a requested cost of $2.9 million;

Adding a pool to the Colleton County Recreation Center, at a requested cost of about $2 million;

Expanding the park for the Town of Cottageville, at a requested cost of $455,000;

Water infrastructure improvements for the Town of Williams, at a requested cost of $250,000;

City of Walterboro I-95 Business Loop Project, Phase 3 for Walterboro, at a requested cost of $6.8 million;

Construction of a new Edisto Municipal Town Hall Complex, at a requested cost of $10 million;

Ireland Creek greenway park and stream restoration, at a requested cost of $9.9 million.

The costs associated with these proposed projects are an estimate, and there is no timeline for these projects. More information on these proposed projects will develop if Colleton voters approve the referendum in November.

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