Sales taxes fund city's projects

AIKEN --- Over the next year, Aiken residents will see their tax money at work as the city strives to complete several capital projects voters approved in 2004.


The projects, funded through local option sales taxes, total more than $2.9 million.

In 2004, Aiken County residents voted to extend the 1-cent local option sales tax for seven years, or until $114 million is raised. The original referendum, approved by voters in 2000, generated $54 million.

"Jurisdictions really stand to gain from it. I think that's why it's been successful," Assistant City Manager Bill Huggins said. "It's not benefiting one project or one community in the county."

The city government proposed $28 million in projects in the 2004 referendum.

This year's projects:

- A new Aiken Department of Public Safety pumper truck for station No. 5 that will be built at Citadel Drive and Whiskey Road -- $250,000

- Street paving that will begin either this fall or early spring -- $250,000.

- Sewer line renewals behind Aiken High School to York Street; the water line on Lincoln Avenue is under design along with the water line from Camellia Street to Hampton Avenue along Marlboro Street -- $600,000.

- Elimination of the northbound lane on Union Street, in preparation of the Aiken Railroad Depot replica, to create additional parking, add lighting and for extensive landscaping -- $125,000.

- To reduce traffic on Whiskey Road and provide another route to retailers on the northside of town, the city is building a connector road between Dougherty and Silver Bluff roads -- $1.05 million.

- City crews will install a wrought iron fence and landscaping at Pine Lawn Cemetery, located at the corner of Florence Street and Abbeville Avenue. In March, the 155-year-old cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places -- $170,000.

- A 2,300-square-foot band shell and pavilion at Hopelands Garden and Rye Patch is under construction, replacing the 21-year-old structure that was torn down in September -- $200,000.

- The city continues with its northside improvement program in the Edgewood subdivision by building new affordable housing -- $250,000.

Reach Michelle Guffey at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or