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Capital Projects Sales Tax Commission

 

May 12, 2020 Update: 

Plans for a referendum in November on whether to implement another 1-cent Capital Projects Sales Tax were halted this evening, following a unanimous vote by Georgetown County Council.

Citing financial impacts from circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Council passed a resolution to dissolve the Capital Project Sales Tax Commission established earlier this year. The commission was working on creating a projects list to be included in the referendum. Council expressed its gratitude to the members of the commission "for their detailed and dedicated work thus far in the capital project sales tax process and commended each member for their willingness to participate and serve" county residents during a global crisis.

Council may consider initiating the referendum process again next year.

 

Kings River Road was resurfaced with funds from the previous CPST.In early 2020, Georgetown County Council agreed that all future capital projects should be funded with a 1% Capital Projects Sales Tax (CPST). This move is an effort to help balance the county budget. For that funding mechanism to work, Georgetown County residents would have to approve a referendum implementing a CPST and an associated list of specific projects that would be funded with money raised through the tax. There are very specific law pertaining to how this list and referendum are crafted. These laws include creation of a 6-member CPST Commission to determine the projects list and what priority each project will have on the list. 

Per law, the Georgetown County CPST Commission consists of three members appointed by County Council, two appointed by the City of Georgetown and one appointed by either the Town of Andrews or the Town of Pawleys Island.

 

Learn about the Previous CPST and Projects it Funded

Georgetown County voters approved the county's very first Capital Project Sales tax in a referendum that was part of the Nov. 2014 ballot. The 1% tax was in effect for 4 years beginning in the spring of 2015. It was originally projected to generate about $7 million per year for a total of $28 million, with about 30% being paid by visitors to the county. In reality, the tax generated just over $41 million over the 4-year period.

The projects list for the first referendum included: 

  • Murrells Inlet dredging -- and countywide rural fire stations $8 million
  • Disposal site preparation -- $2.3 million
  • Andrews Fire/Police Complex -- $1.5 million
  • Big Dam Fire Station and rural fire substations -- $1.5 million
  • Road resurfacing projects -- $8.9 million
  • Winyah Bay dredging -- $6 million

Where the projects stand...

Dredging in Georgetown and a new police and fire complex in the Town of Andrews are the last items remaining to be completed from the original projects list that was part of a 2014 Capital Project Sales Tax referendum. 

 

Georgetown Harbor Dredging. The Georgetown Dredging project as originally planned had to be discarded when the cost estimate more than doubled and federal and state funding were lost. However, Georgetown County and the City of Georgetown are investigating ways funds designated for the project can still be used toward dredging. The County and the City have partnered on a study for alternative options for achieving dredging at the harbor to, hopefully, benefit both recreational boaters and industry in Georgetown. County Council is expected to discuss using the $6 million earmarked for dredging to fund the second phase of the joint study to determine a sustainable plan for dredging the harbor.

Andrews Fire and Police Complex. This project was originally earmarked for $1.5 million and has not yet been completed, as the County awaits action from the Town of Andrews. The Town is going through the procurement process and the County is ready to move forward with funding as soon as the Town is ready to begin construction. No funds have yet been expended. 

Murrells Inlet Dredging. This project was completed in May of 2017, along with beach renourishment at Garden City, which was done using spoils material from the dredging operation. The disposal site preparation for the Confined Disposal Facility was not required due to cost savings in mechanical/gravity dewatering bag methods that were employed. Originally budgeted for $10.3 million, this project was completed for $8.85 million.

Road Resurfacing. All road resurfacing projects (approximately 100 across the county, including in municipalities) have been completed. Total projects equaled 44.5 road miles. This project was originally estimated at $8.9 million and was completed for $8.4 million.

Fire Station and Rural Substations. This project is deemed “financially complete.” It included one full-size fire station in the Big Dam community and nine rural fire substations. The full fire station and four of the nine substations have been constructed. While work remains to be done on the other substations, costs have already been paid. The Big Dam Community Fire Station on Big Dam Road officially opened on July 2, 2019. The original estimated total for all 10 facilities was $1.5 million. Projected completion total is $2.1 million. Substations that have already been completed are at Williams Hill, Yauhannah, South Island and Gallop Rd. The building for the Gapway substation is complete, but electrical service still needs to be installed. The remaining sites at Sampit, Rose Hill, Carvers Bay, and Plantersville are at various stages of completion. The first three will proceed at the same time, once all site locations are ready for construction. Completion is estimated to take place this year. For the Plantersville station, the project location has been determined and the site plan has been completed.