Originally created 08/16/97

Questions proposed sales tax in Aiken



On July 29, the Aiken City Council, North Augusta City Council and Aiken County Council members met at Aiken Technical College and approved a one-percent sales tax vote on the Nov. 4 ballot.

The issue calls for 71 percent of the revenues generated by the tax to be used for property tax rollbacks.

Aiken, North Augusta and Aiken County would have the option to select projects to be financed in their areas by the remaining 29 percent of revenues.

Aiken City Council has discussed using all revenues generated by the sales tax for further rollback of property taxes.

Aiken County Councilman Jim Baggott opposed the tax, adding that more money should be allocated for unpaved roads. The county generates approximately $1.9 million a year from the $15 vehicle road maintenance fee that is part of the automobile property tax bill. This road fee has been in effect approximately four-and-a-half years at $1.9 million, for a total of approximately $8.55 million. I understand the 1997-'98 budget includes $500,000 for road improvement or maintenance.

Maybe Mr. Baggott or administrator Bill Shepherd could advise taxpayers on how the balance of $8 million was spent, or will be spent.

If the taxpayers vote for a one percent sales tax increase, I think it all should go for property tax rollback.

Mr. Baggott, and the seven other council members who raised their salaries $7,200, could donate benefits they receive from sales tax increases to whatever Aiken County project they desire.

It's time all taxpayers get a slice of their pie, and not just a few.

James R. Grant, Aiken