In considering any new tax during this economic climate, strong consideration should be given to what will be gained. The burden of the tax must be considered and weighed against the benefits.
As Chair of the Kershaw County Library Board of Trustees, I strongly advocate for one of the eight projects that would be provided by the proposed penny sales tax: a new library facility in Elgin.
The population served by the area surrounding the current Elgin library is now equal to the population served by the Camden Library, while the Camden Library is four times larger. Use of the library in Elgin reflects this growth: circulation of material, attendance at children’s programs, and use of the computers have all more than doubled since the Elgin Library opened its doors in 1999.
The current Elgin Library is inadequate. There is no more space for additional books, computers, seating or programs. A new facility would provide a computer lab where free computer classes could be taught, expanded space for children’s programs, a meeting room that could be used by area organizations and businesses, and more comfortable reading space. If the tax passes, this new library would be conveniently located on four acres of land, donated by the Town, on the eastern border of Elgin. If it doesn’t pass, chances are we won’t see a new library any time soon.
Libraries and recreational facilities, though vital, are always at a disadvantage when competing with roads, sewers, and jails. Unlike a property tax increase, a portion of the penny sales tax revenue would be derived from out-of-county residents.
I am convinced that a new library in Elgin is worth a penny on the dollar.