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New sales tax for Laurens County starts Saturday

Starting Saturday, Laurens County consumers will begin paying a penny more on the dollar for many local purchases.

The Capital Project Sales Tax, which passed with overwhelming support in November’s General Election, goes into effect Saturday, May 1. In the county, the sales tax will increase from 8% to 9% with the addition of the CPST.

The CPST is expected to raise around $35 million to fund 16 different capital projects all around the county over the next eight years.

“I’m glad to for the quality of life issues that will be addressed through the Capital Project Sales Tax, and I’m glad for the infrastructure projects that will be funded by the CPST,” said Laurens County Council Chairman Brown Patterson.

The CPST referendum, which outlined all 16 projects to be funded in detail, passed with 58% of the vote with 14,370 county residents voting for the additional 1-cent sales tax.

It is a good mix of wants and needs,” CPST Commission Chairman Walter Hughes III said after the referendum passed on Nov. 3. “I think it’s going to be a tremendous. I think we’re going to see a snowball effect (for development) down the road. It’s going to be the start of big things.”

County council is now in the process of issuing bonds to cover the costs of the projects. The bonds will be paid back through the CPST.

Patterson said the bonds are to be issued incrementally as the initial projects get underway. Around $15-18 million – about half of the total to be spent – will be issued initially.

Council has already approved purchase of the Exchange Club building and property that will be the future home of an agricultural and business center, a $7.9 million project.

Other projects set to get started soon include the purchase of digital E-911 radios for $2.48 million, improvements to county parks for $1.7 million and Phase 1 of renovations to the Historic Laurens County Courthouse for $3.55 million among others.

The CPST will not apply to all purchases. Exempt purchases will include gasoline, groceries and some other items.

Laurens County was among three counties in the state to pass CPST referendums this past November. Edgefield and Hampton counties also passed the additional sales tax.

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