Beaufort County City Council passes citywide franchise fee - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Beaufort County City Council passes citywide franchise fee

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BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) -

After much discussion on Tuesday night, Beaufort County City Council members unanimously voted to pass a special citywide two percent franshise fee for customers using South Carolina Electric and Gas.

The fee will last for seven years and will go toward moving all of the utility lines underground as part of the extensive Boundary Street Project.

Representatives from SCE&G, Hargray Wireless and Century Link spoke at Tuesday night's meeting, saying they were willing to work with the city to move things forward.

Some people disagree this is the best way to fund the $3 million underground project, while others say it's to leverage redevelopment.

"I think the difference is, they're working as accountants, and there's nothing wrong with that, and we've been trying to work as city builders," said Beaufort City Mayor Billy Keyserling. "I think the bottom line is that three years, hopefully sooner, you're going to come into Beaufort and you're going to say ‘this is the Beaufort that I came to see, this is not the Beaufort that's anyplace USA', and that is worth it."

Keyserling said customers will not see the fee added to their bills until after the underground duct bank is in place.

The council also voted to extend the city's electric and gas franchise agreement with SCE&G for another 30 years.

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