– By Tiffani Ireland –
The 1% Sales Tax Commission met in a work session Monday, March 10, at the Edgefield County Council Chambers. As this was a work session, no decisions were made and no action was taken regarding possible sales tax projects. However, the commission did discuss items previously mentioned at their Feb. 18th meeting. Those ideas are divided into two categories labeled “Bucket List 1” and “Bucket List 2.”
On Bucket List 1 are the following proposed items/locations: new fire department substations, recreation facilities, Edgefield County Hospital, Downtown Edgefield, Johnston Armory, Johnston Town Hall, Sweetwater Community Center, Edgefield Police Department, Veterans’ Affairs Park, Johnston’s sidewalks, and Bettis Park. The items are listed randomly and have been given no particular order of importance.
In regards to the fire department substations, the proposal is to build 5 new substations at a cost of $1,000,000. The new stations would be at Hwy 191, Miller Cross Roads, Walker Rd., Long Cane Rd., and near Republican Rd although exact locations have not yet been determined. The proposal regarding recreation facilities includes renovating the Edgefield Gym and making it a warming station, building a Little League concession stand, providing drainage for the soccer field and adding bleachers there, providing park equipment to the town of Edgefield, and resurfacing the Rails to Trails. These items were listed at a cost totaling $610,000. There is a $1,300,000 price tag attached to the Edgefield County Hospital project which would include upgrading the hospital and providing funding for a practice in Merriwhether. Downtown Edgefield’s project would be a revitalization effort that would involve redoing and extending sidewalks, closing alleys, and adding arbors and lighting at a cost of $1,400,000. Johnston Armory could receive renovations making it a community and warming center for $750,000. Johnston’s Town Hall could see renovations including the addition of a new fire station at a cost of $600,000. The Sweetwater Community Center project could receive $150,000 for upgrades to that facility. The proposal to upgrade the Edgefield Police Department would cost $30,000, and a proposal to build a Veterans’ Affairs Park would cost $200,000. The project to extend Johnston’s sidewalk from Lee Street to IGA was listed at a cost of $50,000, and the proposal to build a community building at Bettis Park has a price tag of $700,000. In all, the projects on Bucket List 1 total $6,790,000.
Bucket List 2 is comprised of only two items; the County Detention Center and communication towers. The notation attached to this list is that these are items the commission wants to consider if there is excess sales tax funds.
The Sales Tax Commission will meet again on March 24 at 6:00 at County Council Chambers. As their proposal is due to Council by Apr. 1, they will either have to decide at this meeting which projects will be selected to present to County Council or vote to ask Council for an extension. If items are chosen to present to Council, at the presentation, Council will vote to either accept or reject the entire list presented to them. They cannot pick and choose among the presented items. If Council accepts the proposed list, it will be added to the Nov. 2014 ballot for voters to decide if a 1% sales tax will be enacted to cover the costs of the projects. For more information on this matter, please visit the Edgefield County website or call County Administrator Lynn Strom.