Project list for penny sales tax approved


Last week, the Beaufort County Board of Education approved a detailed list of school facilities projects that would be funded if voters approve a one-penny education sales tax in November.

Those projects include two new schools and additions to other buildings to accommodate rapidly growing student enrollments, as well as roof replacements and HVAC upgrades at numerous schools across the district.

The board voted last month to place the Educational Capital Improvement Sales and Use Tax referendum on the November 2016 general election ballot for consideration by local voters. If approved, the one-penny sales tax would generate revenue to fund the district’s capital needs for the next 10 years and also share the responsibility for generating those funds among property owners, renters, businesses and tourists.

The board’s vote detailing specific building and maintenance projects to be placed on the ballot was the next step in the referendum process.

“Funds from the one-penny education sales tax referendum would be used exclusively for capital projects as specified on the ballot question; state law would prohibit the funds from being used for operations,” the board said in an official statement released after last month’s initial vote. “In addition, all Beaufort County property owners’ taxes on debt service, including 4 percent homeowners, 6 percent homeowners, businesses, vehicles, etc., would be reduced by one-third over the period of time the tax is in place.”

The board said that numerous public meetings would be scheduled prior to the November general election to provide voters with facts relating to the listed projects and enrollment growth.

“The board’s goal is to ensure that parents, employees, and all Beaufort County taxpayers have access to the information they need to make an informed decision in the voting booth,” the statement said.

The board also voted to include the Technical College of the Lowcountry and the University of South Carolina Beaufort in the district’s Educational Capital Improvement Sales and Use Tax referendum, with each institution receiving 5 percent of revenues generated.

A referendum FAQ can be reviewed online at the school district website www.beaufort.k12.sc.us.

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