Georgetown County voters turn down the penny tax, what's next?

GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WPDE) - Nearly two dozen projects in Georgetown County would have been funded by one cent capital improvement sales tax, but last month Georgetown County voters turned it down.

So what happens now to projects like road improvements, dredging Winyah Bay, and building a new fire station in the western part of the county?

Many of the projects were already on Georgetown County's Capital Improvement Plan so now that extra revenue will not be there, some projects will be scaled back, others will take longer to complete and one will not happen.

Leading up to the election the opposition to the one cent sales tax was quite visible.

The evident opposition in billboards and signs is gone now and one could argue it was effective since more than half of voters agreed with the message.

But 46 percent of voters wanted the tax, including Bill Crowther, who helped lead the effort supporting the tax.

"We were disappointed but we felt like we just didn't have time to get the message out to get voters educated as to what it represented. Because a lot of people came to the ballot box and didn't even know it was going to be on there had no clue what it was," said Crowther, Executive Director of Alliance for Economic Development for Georgetown County.

With the tax defeated, the county is moving forward, but some projects are going to take a bit longer.

"The Georgetown and Sampit libraries for example, they're now pushed back into phase two so that's sometime after 2018. We were hoping to get them accomplished in the next few years," said Jackie Broach, Georgetown County Public Information Officer.

Broach explained the new Waccamaw Library also won't meet the original plans, "it's going to be scaled back now. It's not going to be what we were hoping for. We're going to have to go from 26,000 square feet to about 16,000 which is really smaller than what we need out there."

County leaders remained neutral on whether the tax should pass or not but they were in support of the $5.5 million it would have generated for dredging the port.

"We wanted to see if we could secure some local funding for that because we think that's imperative to improving our economy."

The tax may not have passed this time, but according to Crowther they are going to try again in two years


"In a couple months w

e're going to start researching and polling and finding out what it would have to be. What would have to be on the package? How long it would need to be for?


This is the second time Georgetown County voters have voted down a one cent sales tax hike.