Lexington County, S.C. (Wisconsin) — In Lexington County, voters will vote to add a 1 percent sales or penny tax that will fund a series of road improvement projects in the county.
High on the project list, and the most expensive of all, is the widening of Longs Pond Road from two to five lanes.
The project will cost the county $64 million, but the big question is how the tax increase will affect taxpayers.
The Lexington County executive said every taxpayer will be different. It depends on one’s spending habits. WIS also spoke to some locals and business owners. Some residents appear to be divided and confused about the tax. Some say it needs to fix some major traffic issues, while others say they worry it will waste their money.
If voted, the 1 percent capital project sales tax will go into effect in May 2023 and will fund more than 100 different road improvement projects. A committee was selected to compile a list of roads, bridges and intersections that need improvement due to increased traffic.
Lexington County resident Cathy Mathias said she would not oppose a sales tax increase.
“Because they built the school there, they had to do something about the traffic,” Cathy Mathias said.
“We definitely need to improve the roads, it’s a decent way to pay,” she said.
But another resident told WIS she was concerned the projects would take years to start.
“I mean, I think they can get help from elsewhere. We’re already working hard and everything is going up,” said Rebecca Mullinkin, another resident.
Local business owners also disagree, such as Cassie Wing of Wretched Collections.
“They’ve pushed the penny tax before, but the roads are still bad. It seems like nothing is being done here,” Cassie Wing said.
“We need it, and it’s hard to say no to everything. But it’s hard to get excited about it because I haven’t seen enough details,” said Matt Oja, co-owner of O’Hara Bar and Bakery Cafe La said.
“It’s a 1 percent sales tax, and there’s a lot of stuff that it applies to or exempts from,” said Lexington County Executive Lynn Sturkie.
The tax doesn’t apply to groceries, prescription drugs and gasoline, but County Executive Lynn Sturkie said it would bring in $535 million, and it’s not just for roads in Lexington County. Stucky said he drew the county council’s attention to a range of funding options, with the capital sales tax program being the most beneficial to residents.
“They said there was a moratorium, and every option you brought us would only affect the citizens of Lexington County. If we look at the transportation tax or the capital sales tax, we know a certain percentage is not going to be paid by county residents,” Sturkie said.
If passed by Lexington County voters, the eight-year tax would begin on May 1, 2023, and end on April 30, 2031. It is unclear when the road works will begin, but funding for the projects will be disbursed in October 2023.
Lexington County leaders developed a capital sales project tax master plan. The Lexington Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center will also host a sales tax press conference on November 1. 1, 9:00am at the 2500 block of Two Notch Road, intersecting with Long Ponds Road.
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