Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Members of the Laurens County Capital Projects Sales Tax Commission met with local media at the Ridge in Laurens last night to review the process that led to sixteen projects being selected for an upcoming referendum. During the November 3rd General Election, Laurens County voters will be deciding whether to create the penny sales tax to fund these projects. Commission Chair Walter Hughes noted that the South Carolina Department of Revenue projected that the tax would raise $51 million over eight years, but the Commission chose to only award $35 million in projects. Commissioner Bobby Smith, noted the decision to issue bonds so that the projects could get underway soon, and be repaid as the revenues from the penny tax come in. He said that bond rates have improved over the past year. Smith noted that with people working in or visiting in Laurens County or traveling though the county, it’s projected that up to 40% of the penny tax would be paid by people from outside the county, with local residents’ share coming to about $3.26 a month. Commissioner Dr. John Irwin said this concept works because we’re all going to be a part of it. He spoke of “Sixteen life-enhancing projects providing a great opportunity for Laurens County to Grow.” He also quoted a phrase from fellow commissioner Sharon Brownlee for pointing out that with this penny tax, “Everybody pays a little bit, but no one pays a lot.” Commissioner Brownlee pointed out the importance of the projects that will be funded by the Penny for Progress. She stressed the importance to all residents of Laurens County for parks and recreation. Over $1.7 million is to renovate and update recreational parks across Laurens County adding new playground equipment, splash pads, picnic tables and shelters. She said the $4.3 million Clinton Public Library will provide the facilities needed for a full-service library. Sharon Brownlee pointed out that the new Agricultural Center, projected to be built at the fairgrounds on the east side of Laurens, will draw lots of visitors to Laurens County with the events it will host. At $7.9 million, the Ag Center concept is praised by many for its potential to enhance the county. The Capital Projects Sales Tax Commission has brief explanations on all sixteen projects at www.YesToInvestLC.com .