With shifts in rural projects, council adopts spending plan for sales tax surplus
A $7 million package of capital projects that include the completion of the last phase of the Bike the Neck route passed Georgetown County Council this week after a month’s delay for rural residents to argue for a share of the funds.
The money is left over from a capital projects sales tax approved by voters in 2014. The 1-cent tax expired in 2019 after raising $12.5 million more than estimated. The county had another $6 million in revenue that was earmarked for dredging at the port of Georgetown but not used because the project far exceeded the initial estimates.
The council still had $10 million in hand after setting aside funds for future port projects. Administrator Angela Christian proposed last fall that each of the seven members find $1 million worth of projects in their district.
Steve Goggans in District 6 and Ron Charlton, the District 2 member at the time, agreed to combine their allocations to spend $1.85 million to replace the sidewalk on Waverly Road with a 10-foot wide multi-purpose path. That will complete the Bike the Neck route from the South Causeway at Pawleys Island to the county line in Murrells Inlet.
Charlton also designated $199,870 to the renovation of the Midway Fire and Rescue Station in DeBordieu.
Goggans said this week that he was pleased to get the projects moving with minimal delay. He hopes to have them completed in 18 months.
“It’s moving in the right direction,” said Vincent Davis, president of the Pawleys Island Civic Club, who attended the council meeting to track the project. The county is also doing the design work for bike lanes on Petigru Drive and Martin Luther King Road with funds from its capital improvement plan.
Council Member John Thomas in District 1 designated $1 million for a traffic control system that will give priority to fire and rescue vehicles at traffic signals.
Residents in the Spring Gully community west of Georgetown will receive $300,000 for projects in their area, money that Council Member Lillie Jean Johnson in District 4 originally wanted to spend on an expansion of the Georgetown Library.
“We do feel like we have gotten some attention,” Terry Reed, one of the Spring Gully residents, told the council this week. But he questioned why the library is still getting nearly $870,000.
Dedric Bonds, another area resident, said he didn’t have anything against the library, but the money for Spring Gully wasn’t enough to fix problems with roads, drainage and lack of recreation facilities.
“We’ve got to do more and do more quickly,” he said.
In District 7, Council Chairman Louis Morant added $22,000 for renovations at the fire station on Sandy Island. He reduced the allocation for renovations to the auditorium at the Choppee Community Center by the same amount.