City leaders, public discuss possible uses for $25 million from capital project sales tax

City leaders, public discuss possible uses for $25 million from capital project sales tax
City leaders, public discuss possible uses for $25 million from capital project sales tax

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF)- North Augusta City Leaders are looking to citizens’ input to decide how to spend $25 million over the next seven years. A capital sales tax will be on the ballot in November.

The City Council and directors of the local government’s different departments spent Thursday going over the proposed projects. Their wish list would cost $60 to $70 million, but the tax would only afford them $25 million.

North Augusta is on the rise. Last year development reached its peak with $119 million dollars invested in commercial and residential projects, according to city administrator Todd Glover.

That’s nearly twice the second-highest years, with $62 million invested in 2016 and 2007, right before the recession.

“We’re looking to the future, trying to figure out what the requirements are in the city, how much they’re going to cost,” said Mayor Bob Pettit.

Voters will have the opportunity to renew a one percent sales tax for capital projects when they go to the polls in November. If the tax passes, as it has three times in the past, North Augusta will receive about $25 million over seven years. Different departments have some expensive wish lists. In all, their proposed projects total $60 to  $70 million.

Thursday, the directors of those departments pitched their ideas to city council and the public. Several dozen people came out to hear a wrap-up that evening of the ideas discussed.

“What are the pressing needs that we know now? What are we projecting in the future over the next seven years?” Pettit said. “Prioritizing them…and then they’ll be on the ballot for the citizens to evaluate and say, ‘yes, we think that’s a good idea,’ and that’s obviously what we hope that they’ll do because this is the major source of funding for large projects that we do in the city.”

Items ranged from a $10 million investment in headquarters for North Augusta Public Safety to to a $2.5 million Greeneway revamp, to undergrounding the utilities on Georgia Avenue.

Several citizens spoke about support for a proposed $10 million performing arts center.

“I’m excited to see the gathering tonight,” Pettit said. “You know you always wonder [when] you have a public forum what the response is going to be, but you can tell that there’s a lot of excitement in the air.”

The public hearings will continue Friday at the North Augusta Community Center beginning at 8:45 a.m.

Citizens can also send comments to the city clerk or drop them off at City Hall.

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