Today at 4 p.m. the Greenville County Council will vote on whether a proposed sales tax increase for road projects will go on the November ballot.
The proposed referendum would raise the sales tax in Greenville County by 1 percent for eight years. Officials say the increase would raise $65 million annually.
They say the monies would then be applied towards a list of projects, which mostly include improvements to roadways and bridges, but also for things like sidewalks, crosswalks and bike paths.
The list was recently put together by a citizens committee appointed by the county council. The list prioritizes the projects based on where the committee felt there was the most need.
On Monday, a meeting was held to allow residents and organizations the opportunity to speak to both the pros and cons of the referendum.
Those against the tax increase argue county officials are misleading the public.
"This is not about fixing roads. This is about special projects going to special interest groups and that's why we oppose it," said Joshua Cook with NoTaxHikeSC.com.
According to Cook, the tax hike will cost the average family of two over $300 a year.
"We already pay taxes for roads. We pay for county roads and state roads. We have the money. The problem is a broken system in Columbia. So we're asking county council not to let the working families of Greenville County suffer because of the broken system in Columbia," added Cook.
One of the proposed projects Cook is referring to is a solution to alleviate traffic on Woodruff Road. Tim Brett, who served on the County Transportation Committee says new projects like these are not only vital to the economy but to residents and area businesses who depend on our roadways.
"Greenville County has grown tremendously since I was a little boy. We went from 105,000 to 500,000 people and we have industry that's coming every day. We've got to fix our roads," argues Brett.
Those in support of the referendum argue it should be up to residents to make the decision.
"I agree on the right of the people to decide on the referendum. I think that's the best form of government we could have," said Brett.
In order to actually be added to the ballot this November, the county council must vote on and pass the referendum three times. The first vote again will take place Tuesday at 4 p.m. at County Square on University Ridge Road in Greenville.
The public is invited to attend.
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