SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Just as the current penny sales tax is about to end, it could be hanging around a bit longer. Spartanburg County Council is debating asking voters to decide if that tax should continue.

The first penny sales tax in Spartanburg County was approved by voters back in November 2017.

County council could be asking voters to approve another 6 years of the one cent tax, with the money going towards fixing roads.

“Every day people are asking us fix the roads,” said county councilman, David Britt.

In Spartanburg County, there are quite a lot of roads to be fixed.

“From Spartanburg to Phoenix, Arizona if you backed all the 1,730 miles, it would take you to Phoenix,” said Britt.

Leaders said the penny sales tax is one way to get that work done.

“It would make a huge, fast difference in the road conditions that we currently drive on, and that’s what most of the people are asking and pleading for,” said Britt.

The first penny sales tax funds are being used to build a new courthouse along with a joint city-county government complex, among other projects.

“From ’17, when it was passed then, we were hoping that the one cent sales tax would generate about $300-$325 million, and it’s exceeded far beyond our imagination,” Britt said.

It is not just residents who are contributing to the tax.

“Everybody shares in this. If you stay at a hotel, if you eat in a restaurant, you’re paying the one cent sales tax,” said the councilman.

Clothes, shoes, and restaurant food are all taxed an extra cent. Grocery store items and medications are exempt.

“I have not had anybody complain to me that that one penny sales tax has caused them not to buy that Coca-Cola, or a Milo’s Tea, or a honey bun,” said Britt.

If the penny sales tax is extended for six years, Britt said, that’s $478 million to be spent on county roads, the ones with the red bird image on them.

“They’re in need of $500 million just to get them up to where, not only will they be satisfactory, they will be safe and helpful,” he said.

They would also work with partners to fix state roads, the ones with the state symbol on the sign.

“Not just to be able to drive on a new, smooth paved road, but to drive on safe roads that will protect them and their families. That’s what we’re all here about,” stated Britt.

Another focus would be improving county bridges.

Britt said a committee must be formed first, the committee will make a detailed presentation to council and then council will vote. All of this must be done by August 15 to get on the ballot.

The current penny sales tax runs out in April of 2024. Britt said any money left over from that will go towards fixing roads.