Proposed tax in Beaufort Co. to assist with widening Hwy 278 - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Proposed tax in Beaufort Co. to assist with widening Hwy 278


You could be spending more money on everyday purchases in Beaufort County.

The Beaufort County Capital Sales Tax Commission is considering a tax that would cost you a penny for every dollar you spend.

What do officials want to spend the money on?

They’re looking into a variety of projects, one of them may be widening Highway 278, or finding a new communications system for the Sheriff’s Office. Officials say these projects aren’t just wants, they are necessary.

“The money asked for right now, we’re looking at a possibility of a four year tax cycle, that means a penny will be collected for a four year period, and cover about 120 million dollars of funding in that time period,” said Beaufort County Sales Tax Commission Chairman Mike Sutton.

The commission is looking to pay for projects that the county needs, but doesn’t have the funding for – like widening Highway 278, building EMS stations for ambulances and replacing law enforcement’s outdated communications system.

“If the projects that we’re looking at exceed $120 million, we can narrow the projects down and rank them, decide which ones we believe are the most important to present to council. Or, we can take and extend the term to 8 years and that will generate additional funding,” said Sutton.

Over the next few months, the commission will go through proposals and prioritize a list of projects to give to county council.

One Beaufort County resident says he doesn’t mind paying the extra cent, since a good portion of the burden will fall on the millions of tourists who visit every year.

“If it benefits the county, and our infrastructure, I think it’s a good idea and I’m all for it. Whether it’s [taxes] on lodging, or taxes on food,” said Beaufort County resident J. David Hatcher.

Another taxpayer says she’s going to need more transparency and information before she votes for a tax increase.

“If truly it’s going towards something the city or the county needs, like police equipment, fire equipment, rescue equipment, traffic. I do know 278 can get really bad. Then yes. I wouldn’t mind paying an extra sales tax. But, you have to be careful where some of it might be diverted to,” said Beaufort County resident Anne Raley.

If the county council approves the sales tax, the referendum will appear on the November ballot and voters will make the final decision.

Copyright 2016 WTOC. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly