SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Spartanburg County residents approved a penny sales tax Tuesday to pay for road and infrastructure improvements around the county.
Officials say the tax will bring in an estimated $478 million over the next six years
“What’s getting the attention would be the penny tax sales vote,” said voter Rick Beltram.
Beltram said the penny sales tax has been a controversial topic amongst voters.
“There’s a lot of people who have been pushing for it and there’s others that are absolutely opposed to it,” he said.
According to Beltram, the roads need to be fixed, one way or another.
“One thing is very important is that we have a lot of new people moving to this area. As you know, this is boomtown in the Upstate of South Carolina and that’s certainly something that people will look at when they think about moving here is if the infrastructure is in place,” he said.
The county’s current asphalt road condition score is failing: 57.5 out of 100.
“Certainly, if you drive in here with a lot of potholes, you’re probably not going to be super impressed,” said Beltram.
Spartanburg County Councilman David Britt said voters showed how much they cared for the county Tuesday night.
“They made the absolute right decision in the most difficult time that I think we could have ever asked them to do,” he said. “So, it shows their commitment to moving this county forward and making it safer for themselves and their children.”
The funds break down into categories like fixing roads, intersection improvements and bridge replacements.
“They will see immediate action and we’re going to put the pedal to the metal,” said Britt.
John Baucom, Spartanburg County Director of Registrations and Elections, said several things were on the ballot this election.
“Our residents are voting on school district trustees, all the municipalities in the county are holding elections today, and the penny sales tax referendum is on the ballot,” Baucom said.
Overall, he said the election turnout was not high.
“I think we’ll land at close to 15% for total turnout for this election,” said Baucom.
Election day always brings bumps in the road, but Baucom said there haven’t been any major issues.
“We haven’t had any stoppages in voting as a result of any kind of issues,” he said.
With the tax passing, the county said the money will go toward 577 projects countywide.
Below are the categories of projects and how much the county plans to spend on each:
- County Resurfacing: 478 projects, $165M
- SCDOT Resurfacing: 38 projects, $158M
- Intersection Improvements: 14 projects, $42M
- County Corridor Reconstruction: 7 projects, $40M
- Stormwater Improvements: 30 projects, $28M
- County Bridge Replacements: 10 projects, $24M
- City/Municipal Resurfacing: $12 million
- County Safety Improvements: $9 million, Includes re-striping, raised (reflective) pavement marking installation, rumble strips, guardrail, and clearing of right-of-way
The current penny sales tax is set to expire on April 30, 2024. That tax was used to fund construction of a new Spartanburg County Courthouse, Spartanburg Police headquarters, Spartanburg Fire headquarters, and a new city/county office complex.
The new one-cent sales tax will take effect on May 1, 2024.