List of Lexington County Penny Tax Road Improvements Ready for Council Approval

If Approved, the Tax, Estimated to Generate $536M, Would Go Before Voters in November

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A penny sales tax for road improvements in Lexington County just needs council approval to make its way onto the November ballot.

Thursday, the Capital Project Sales Tax Committee, assembled in November 2021 at the behest of County Council to prioritize projects to be funded by the prospective tax, voted unanimously to approve a resolution and send it to council. 

The resolution includes a compressed list of 130 projects to be funded by the minimum $536 million the tax is anticipated to raise across the eight years it would be in effect. 

“We've spent a lot of time prioritizing the projects and getting to where we've gotten to and it is all of our goal to present something to the voters in the best fashion for them to make a decision with all the correct information,” Jim Ewart, the committee chair, said before calling for the vote.

The compressed list still represents the nearly 200 projects the committee was set to approve in what could be its final meeting, as related projects were grouped together, Kyle Clampitt explained.

Clampitt is a consultant with Alliance Consulting Engineers, which helped inform the committee as it prioritized the projects.

For instance, Clampitt continued, several dozen projects in Batesburg-Leesville were grouped into four based on the priorities expressed by the town.

The $536 million, an increase from the $450 million the committee was previously considering to list on the ballot should voters consider the measure this fall, reflects a state Department of Revenue estimate for the smallest amount the tax would generate, Clampitt clarified to the committee. 

The tax is expected to generate between $56 million and $78 million per year, increasing by about $3 million per year across the duration of the tax, Clampitt said.

Council could take up first reading of the tax and the project list at its next regular meeting on May 24, though the agenda for that session has not been set.

Council can decide to approve the resolution and list as initially presented or send it back to the committee requesting alterations.

Ewart, the committee chair, indicated the members anticipate questions from council as to the variety of projects.

“We get ‘the scuttlebutt’ that there might be some pushback from County Council on the fact that some of these projects contain sidewalks and some storm drainage and water and sewer,” he said. “And I would just like to opine that we were given the projects we were given them, and we ranked them under the criteria that we were given the rank of them.”

A similar penny tax for roads was voted down by the public in 2014. The county made a second go at it in 2020, but abandoned those efforts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.





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