Referendum results: Dorchester, Charleston OK tax hikes; Summerville votes ‘no’ to stronger mayor
Ask these folks how many of them would use 526. Most are either coming from the highway, or headed in that direction.
The aging George H. Seago Library in Summerville will be substituted if Dorchester County voters approve a referendum in November. (File)
After answering various referendum questions Tuesday, Charleston and Dorchester county voters determined to raise taxes while Summerville voters determined against providing the town’s mayor more power.
In Charleston County, fifty one percent voted for the half-cent sales tax increase, raising the total sales tax rate in the county to nine percent. The extra tax will raise $Two.1 billion to fund mass transit, road improvements and more greenspace.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, who endorsed the half-cent sales tax, spotted it as a victory.
“Today, the voters of Charleston County made it clear that they want real traffic ease, and they’re ready to do what’s necessary to fund it,” he said. “Now it’s our duty as public servants to work closely with our citizens to ensure that these fresh transportation and public transit dollars are spent wisely, and only on projects that directly relieve traffic and improve our citizens’ quality of life.”
More than half the money will be spent on about a dozen road projects, including the widening of S.C. Highway forty one and Dorchester Road. About $600 million will go to the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority to improve its fleet of buses and develop the area’s very first bus rapid transit system.
The county’s greenbelt program, created when the very first half-cent sales tax was approved in 2004, will get $210 million to purchase more green spaces.
The two thousand four sales tax will remain in effect until it brings in $1.Trio billion or until 2030, whichever comes very first. The extra half-cent tax would remain in effect until it raises $Two.1 billion, or for twenty five years, whichever comes very first.
A majority of voters, fifty four percent, also approved permitting the county to issue $200 million in bonds from those funds in advance so it can begin some of those projects.
“We can go ahead and get planning going to get some of these projects done as quickly as possible,” said Charleston County Councilman Herb Sass.
In Dorchester County, sixty percent of voters approved a $43 million bond issue that will increase property taxes to raise $30 million for fresh and improved libraries and $13 million for recreation facilities.
With the money, the county plans to substitute the George H. Seago Jr. branch library on Trolley Road in Summerville, build a fresh library in North Charleston and buy land for another in Ridgeville. The Jennie J. McMahan branch in St. George would also see some improvements.
Recreation facilities funded by the fresh tax would include a park by the Dorchester County Courthouse in St. George, the planned Ashley Sea Park and the Pine Trace Natural Area in Summerville. Pedestrian trails could also be created.
In Summerville, fifty seven percent of voters opposed a stir to transition to a mayor-council form of government. The measure would have given the mayor more power over certain decisions, such as hiring and firing town employees and proposing an annual budget. The town is presently run by a council form of government.
Reach Abigail Darlington at 843-937-5906 and go after her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail.