Advanced Technology Center is Centerpiece of Capital Project Sales Tax Proposal

Daniel Prince

Special referendum election is scheduled for November 2nd

One of the two ballot questions in the November 2nd special referendum election is whether the county should impose a 1% Capital Projects Sales Tax. If approved, money from the tax would be collected for 8 years and can only go to fund the projects on the ballot. The total cost of the projects on the ballot is $20 million.

The county is expected to take out bonds in that amount so that the projects can begin as soon as possible. If $20 million is not collected over the course of the eight years, the county is on the hook for the shortfall. However, members of the Capital Project Sales Tax said the $20 million figure, which was estimated by the SC Department of Revenue, is a very conservative estimate and they expect more to be collected. Everyone who makes a purchase in the county, whether they live here or live somewhere else, will pay the tax. If more than $20 million is collected, the extra money would go into those same eight projects.

Many of the projects had the proposed amount cut as the commission tried to fit as many projects onto the ballot as they could. Currently, 24 South Carolina counties impose a capital projects tax, including York and Newberry counties, which have had them since the late 1990s, as well as Chester, Spartanburg, and Laurens counties.

The biggest project on the ballot is the Union County SCC Campus Advanced Technology Center. More than half of the tax, $11,153,987, would go to the center. The current CATE Center on campus at Union County High School would move to the new location at the SCC Union Campus. An additional 42,000 square feet would be built onto the existing structure to house building construction, health science, manufacturing, transportation, and other classes. In all, the project is expected to cost $19 million, with part of the money coming from Spartanburg Community College. In the project proposal, the county stated that availability of a well-trained workforce pipeline is now the most significant factor in determining where firms locate their businesses. The Union County Advanced Technology Center will demonstrate the community’s commitment to providing quality employees to support industry. It will also engage more of our youth and prepare them to fill the higher paying jobs which accompany economic development projects. The center is sponsored by Spartanburg Community College, the Union County School District, and Union County. Preliminary architectural drawings are complete, and if the tax is approved, the project can begin in January 2022. The county will provide funding to start full engineering at the point the Capital Projects Sales Tax is approved by voters.

To find out more information about the projects and the proposed Capital Project Sales Tax, visit unionsc.com or search for the Facebook page, “A Penny Makes Cents, Union SC”.

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