County tables $25k for penny tax promotion

On Tuesday, Richland County Council voted to table the issue which is to use public money to fund an educational campaign.

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Richland County Council voted to table a $25,000 budget amendment that would educate voters on the proposed penny sales tax increase.

Tuesday, council was to hear from residents on the issue, but a vote was taken before that could happen.

The reason it was tabled, I believe, is because council has been hearing from a number of sources on both sides of the spectrum about a concern for using that kind of money for education of the public, said Councilman Jim Manning.

Citizens Against the Tax Increase has expressed its concerns loud and clear. Before the meeting, the group held a press conference outside the Richland County Administration Building.

Frankly, it is insulting that some members of Richland County Council want to use our tax dollars to push for these higher taxes, said Don Weaver of Citizens Against the Tax Increase.

Casting a preliminary vote in late July, council was in favor of using public money to pay for informational materials, so that voters could learn how the tax hike would be used.

However, some council members have since changed their minds.

We have a lot of different ways where they can access the information, but we should not be seen as advocating for it, said Councilwoman Val Hutchinson

What isn't going to change is the proposed sales tax, which will appear on the November 2 ballot. If approved, the hike will pay for road, bike and greenway projects, as well as provide long-term funding for transportation services.

Richland County citizens can learn more about the proposed transportation penny sales tax through a series of sessions this month.

Sessions are from 6 to 7 p.m. at the following locations:

Sept. 15: 6-7 p.m., Harbison Recreation Center, 106 Hillpine Road

Sept. 16: Richland County Sheriff TMs Department Lower Richland Region 1 headquarters on Lower Richland Boulevard

Sept. 22: Parklane Adult Activity Center, 7494 Parklane Road, Northeast Richland

Sept. 27: Richland County Public Library, main branch on Assembly Street

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