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Jones opposes capital sales tax guide in county offices

Posted: October 12, 2010 4:51 p.m.
Updated: October 13, 2010 5:00 a.m.

Kershaw County residents are unlikely to see a voter guide for the upcoming 1-cent capital sales tax referendum in government buildings, said Kershaw County Councilman Jimmy Jones, because of ethics concerns over the politically-charged matter.

The seven-page guide gives detailed information about the eight projects, answers frequently asked questions and provides a Web site for more information, www.pennyforprogress.net.

Jones said he believes the guide is completely one-sided because it doesn’t provide any negative information regarding the tax.

County council discussed the issue last month, questioning whether it was appropriate for the guide to be on display in county buildings. Jones said it would essentially be advocating the tax.

Councilman Bobby Gary supports placing the information at the Kershaw County Government Center. He encouraged his colleagues on council to disseminate the handout as well.

Some figures included in the pamphlet are that 1 out of 4 sales tax dollars raised will come from people outside Kershaw County, that $1.75 will be gained from each dollar paid by county residents and on average, the tax would cost each resident of the county $4.75 a month. It also states that all projects have additional funding sources.

The guide states the two questions that will be placed on the referendum Nov. 2. The first -- Must a special one percent sales and use tax be imposed in Kershaw County for not more than eight years for the purpose of funding the Projects listed below up to the amounts specified? -- is binding, meaning the county must follow the voter’s decision.

The second question is advisory, asking whether county council should issue bonds which would provide the funds up front to begin the projects immediately. The other option is to construct the projects as the money is collected over the course of eight years. Ultimately, though, the decision is up to council whether to bond the funds.

The projects include recreation upgrades such as an indoor pool and gymnasium, tennis courts, a new water system for the town of Bethune, a new library in Elgin, a veterans memorial in Camden and a KershawHealth outpatient center in Camden, and additional infrastructure at Governor’s Hill Business Park.

The incoming revenue from the tax is estimated at approximately $30 million. Ricky Tiller, who chaired the capital projects sales tax commission, has said that is a very “conservative” estimate.

Items exempt from the tax would be groceries and unprepared foods.

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