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Election Day guide to local ballot questions

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Ballot questions

Questions will appear at the end of ballots for voters in Charleston County, Dorchester County and Summerville. Berkeley County does not have referendums this year. Click here to get more information about your voting precinct, voter registration and how to obtain a sample ballot online before Election Day.


Charleston County

Question 1:

“I approve a special sales and use tax in the amount of one-half (1/2) of one percent to be imposed in Charleston County for not more than twenty-five (25) years, or until a total of $2,100,000,000 in resulting revenue has been collected, whichever occurs first. The sales tax proceeds will be used to fund the following projects:

Project (1) For financing the costs of highways, roads, streets, bridges and other transportation-related projects facilities and drainage facilities related thereto, and mass transit systems operated by Charleston County or jointly operated by the County and other governmental entities: $1,890,000,000.

Project (2) For financing the costs of greenbelts. $210,000,000.

What it means:
Voters will decide whether they want to increase their taxes through a half-cent sales tax. The money raised would go toward new green spaces, transportation projects, transit agencies and road improvements in Charleston County.

The government wants to raise $2.1 billion for these projects. Of that, $1.89 billion would be set aside for transportation-related projects and drainage projects. Projects include, but are not limited to:

  • Airport area roads improvements
  • Dorchester Road widening
  • Michaux Parkway to county line
  • U.S. Highway 17 at Main Road flyover and widening Main Road from Bees Ferry to Betsy Kerrison with parkway-type section at Bohicket Road
  • Annual allocation continuation for resurfacing, bike/pedestrian facilities, paving and intersection improvements
  • Glenn McConnell Parkway widening
  • James Island intersection and pedestrian improvements
  • Northside Drive realignment at Ashley Phosphate Road
  • Rural road improvements
  • Savannah Highway/Ashley River bridges/Crosstown congestion infrastructure improvements
  • Savannah Highway capacity and intersection improvements
  • S.C. Highway 41 improvements/U.S. Highway 17 to Wando bridge
  • U.S. Highway 78 improvements from U.S. Highway 52 to county line

The county has not specified which projects would be tackled first or how much each one would cost.

The remaining $210 million would fund greenbelt projects. County Council documents do not specify where land would be conserved or what projects would be created with the funding.

If approved, the half-cent sales tax would remain in effect until $2.1 billion is raised or 25 years passes — whichever occurs first. The last half-cent sales tax increase was approved by voters in 2004. That will last until either $1.3 billion is raised or until the year 2030, according to The Post and Courier.

Question 2:

I approve the issuance of not exceeding $200,000,000 of general obligation bonds of Charleston County, payable from the special sales and use tax described in Question 1 above, maturing over a period not to exceed twenty-five (25) years, to fund completion of projects from among the categories described in Question 1 above.

What it means:
If this question passes and if the half-cent sales tax from Question 1 is approved, Charleston County will be able to issue up to $200 million in bonds for those projects, enabling work to begin faster — rather than waiting on the half-cent sales tax fund to grow.

The county said larger projects would get funded first, but did not specify which ones in particular. If Question 1 does not pass, this question will be void, elections officials said.


Dorchester County

Question:

Shall Dorchester County, South Carolina, be authorized to issue general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $30,000,000 for funding the acquisition of land and the design and construction of new library facilities in Summerville and North Charleston and general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $13,000,000 for funding recreational facilities, including the development of the Dorchester County Courthouse Park in St. George, the Ashley River Park and the Pine Tree Natural Area in Summerville, and the development of hiking, biking and pedestrian trails, together with associated infrastructure, at various locations throughout the County?

What it means:
Dorchester County government wants to use $43 million from taxes to build new parks, trails and libraries throughout the county. Of that amount, $30 million would be set aside for the land purchase, design and construction of new libraries. The remaining $13 million would be used to build new recreational facilities and trails.


Summerville

Question:

This question applies to residents within town limits, regardless of county:

Shall the municipality of the Town of Summerville change its form of government from Council form to Mayor-Council form?

What it means:
The mayor-council form of government would give more power to Summerville Mayor Wiley Johnson, as well as to future mayors.

The existing council form of government means a mayor presides over meetings and performs administrative and ceremonial duties but does not have authority beyond council members.

In a mayor-council form, known as a strong-mayor government, the mayor still presides over meetings, but also prepares the budgets, acts as the chief administrative officer and supervises departments.

More than 4,000 residents signed a petition requesting that the government-change question be included on the ballot after Town Council voted to strip away some mayoral powers earlier this year, according to The Summerville Journal Scene.

Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119.

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