Sales Tax Commission Details Proposed Projects - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/28/04

Sales Tax Commission Details Proposed Projects

What does your tax money go for? They're trying to figure that out in Beaufort. The sales tax commission released a list of projects totaling close to $100 million that would get money from a proposed penny tax. It shouldn't come as a big surprise that roads would probably get the most money, particularly Highway 278.

Nothing's set in stone yet, but the first draft sees Highway 278 between Simmonsville Road and Hilton Head Island getting more than $15 million.

"In my lifetime at least, there's not going to be a road building budget on the state level, and if we want to have infrastructure to take care of our local problems, we're going to have to do it ourselves," said Jacob Preston, who sits on the Bluffton Town Council. He says fixing the main artery through town is vital.

People who live south of the Broad River tend to agree. The way it stands right now, during rush hour, even emergency vehicles have a tough time getting where they need to go.

This isn't the first time Highway 278's been the priority for a penny tax, and last time, the vote was no because voters in the northern part of the county didn't want to pay for what they perceived as a Hilton Head and Bluffton problem. This year though, they've tried to spread the wealth.

"They have a pretty good list and it seems like they're doing some north of the Broad, some south of the Broad, Bluffton, Hilton Head, they're doing it all over and that way it's going to make a lot more people happier," said Buster Nimmer of Bluffton.

The ballot is slated to go before voters in November. Well over half of the 29 projects on the penny tax list deal with roads, but there's also more than $10 million earmarked for Beaufort's Waterfront Park and a new law center.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com

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