The Half Cent Sales Tax Referendum will be on the ballot in November. Charleston County council voted to add it to the ballot on Tuesday night, marking the third and final reading of the Proposed Half Cent Sales Tax Referendum.
Two weeks ago, Council voted down the second reading of the proposed sales tax referendum following disagreements over whether to include the I-526 extension on the list of projects to be funded, or as an advisory question on the ballot with no funding attached. But on July 27, Council reconsidered the second reading and voted to move the draft (excluding I-526) forward to the third and final reading.
Based on Council’s comments over the last few weeks, there will likely be two major changes considered. The first is to allocate $210 million to the Charleston County Greenbelt Program, as the need to conserve land is greater now than ever. Allocating 10% of the sales tax to this program will help direct growth and infrastructure to the most appropriate locations in the county while protecting Charleston’s valuable rural lands.
Council may also consider either adding the I-526 extension to the list, or adding an advisory question about the I-526 extension (with no funding attached). The I-526 extension would consume more than half of the transportation portion of the sales tax money, preventing funding projects like Savannah Highway Folly Road, as well as bus rapid transit on the I-26 corridor.
If voters pass the referendum in November, it will pay for road projects in Charleston County, however the proposed I-526 extension project will not be included.