Aiken, SC (WJBF) – Aiken City Council voted Monday night to keep the city’s hospitality sales tax.
The tax, which was first voted on, and put into place in June of 2015, was up for debate Monday night.
Many people took to the podium to share their opinions on whether or not the city should keep the sales tax.
Just as the room was divided, so was council, three people voted to repeal the tax, including Mayor Rick Osbon, while the majority chose to keep it.
“As a taxpayer, there is no such thing as a good tax there are necessary taxes for the core functions of government,” one of the residents spoke to council.
Another residents said council was being very proactive with the tax, “I urge you to stand by your decision of less than a year ago give this investment program an opportunity.”
In less than a year the city has raised more than $750,000 from the newly-instated hospitality sales tax. A tax that many people feel was forced on them.
“My opposition was as much with the process as with the product the due diligence involved with it,” Mayor Osbon said.
Osben says he’s worried this sales tax with interfere with the $5 million Capital Project Sales Tax the city and county receives every year.
Councilwoman Gail Diggs says her vote hasn’t changed since last year. She believes this is a good tax and says they will continue to be transparent with how they spend it.
“We’re using it for some of the entry signs in Aiken and we have so many infrastructure issues that we have to address. So I think it’s important for us to not only be transparent with the way we use it but even get some citizen input,” Diggs said.
This money is scheduled to go towards a parking garage in the downtown Aiken area, but Diggs says there are several other projects that can benefit with this sales tax.