The list of projects to be paid for a by a 1% Capital Project Sales Tax if approved by voters in November was presented to the Laurens County Council Tuesday night.
Walter Hughes III, chairman of the CPST Commission appointed by council members, was to present the 16 projects approved by the commission and one alternate to council. The commission first selected and then ranked the projects in order of importance for the county.
Renovations and improvements to all county parks topped the list at a cost of about $1,727,500. That project was followed by a new county library for Clinton, the initial phase of renovation for the historic Laurens County Courthouse, an agricultural center and a project to ease traffic flow at Exit 22 at I-385.
The total cost of the projects is $34,898,138, just under the $35 million budget the commission had targeted in a series of meetings that heard presentations from across Laurens County.
“We did get it in under budget, and that’s funding 16 projects out of 17,” Hughes said. “The one we have not funded will be an alternate, so if we raise more than $35 million and raise enough to fund it, then I guess we can do 17.”
The 1-cent capital project sales tax will be put to voters in a referendum during the November General Election after it is approved by county council and certified by the state Election Commission.
Hughes also said 44% of the sales tax revenue is expected to come from out-of-county people who are visiting or traveling through, leaving $19.6 million paid for by Laurens County residents.
That number breaks down to about $48 per year per Laurens resident, or about $4 per month.
If approved by voters, the CPST would sunset after eight years, but Hughes estimates the $35 million price tag for the current list of projects will be paid for in six years. After that, the CPST can be renewed by another referendum.
The projects range in cost from $280,000 for improvements to the Laurens County Animal Shelter to $7.93 million to build an agricultural center and multipurpose facility designed to capitalize on the county’s agricultural economic base. It would be akin to Clemson’s T. Ed Garrison Arena and would also house the Laurens County 4-H and Clemson Extension Service
County council was to hold first reading on the ordinance as presented by Hughes and the commission Tuesday. Second reading is set for July 14 and third reading along with a public hearing is set for July 28.
Here is a list, description and price of all 16 projects to be included in the CPST referendum:
- Laurens County Parks and Recreation: Renovate and update parks throughout Laurens County, $1,727,500.
- Clinton Public Library: Build a 12,000 square-foot library with community and private tutoring rooms, $4.3 million.
- Laurens County Courthouse: Initial phase of work to repair and restore the courthouse’s exterior, including an interior elevator for access to all people, $3,550,766.
- Agricultural Center: Build a multipurpose facility available to the public for events that will house livestock and office facilities, $7.93 million.
- Fountain Inn Infrastructure: Upgrade Exit 22 to accommodate increased traffic flow and ease congestion, $912,000.
- E-911 Radio Upgrade: Upgrade all first responders’ radios throughout the county to Palmetto 800 standard to ease communication obstacles, $2,481,496.
- Laurens County Airport: Rebuild a new, efficient airport terminal to provide better services that meet competitive standards with other regional airports, $500,000.
- Veterans’ Monuments and Memorial Park: Establish a memorial park to be located at the Laurens County Library’s lawn with monuments dedicated to the branches of military service, $414,200.
- LCWSC Water Tower: Replace the current water tower in Hickory Tavern to allow for greater operation efficiency to infrastructure and future development, $1,994,755.
- Martha Dendy Community Center: Expanding capabilities for adult education, tutoring, and community enrichment at the former Martha Dendy School, $756,000.
- Laurens County EMS Medic 1 Renovation: Renovate the current Medic 1 Center on Exchange Drive to improve services and response times, $314,500.
- Laurens County Animal Shelter: Renovate the animal shelter to include an HVAC system, reduce harmful noise, and allow safer handling of animals, $280,000.
- Laurens County Trails Association: To pave a walking/biking/hiking trail near Laurens County Hospital that will eventually connect with the Swamp Rabbit Trail, $380,000.
- Town of Gray Court Park: Provides for the first phase of a park complex to include baseball fields and land preparation, $891,220.
- City of Clinton Infrastructure: Repair city streets, relocate utility boxes and repair water/sewage lines, $6,528,443.
- Laurens County Sheriffs’ Evidence Storage Facility: Build a facility that meets climate control conditions for storing decades/multiyear records of mandatory court evidence, $1,964,250.