School Board approves wording for sales and use tax referendum

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By David Meade

Anderson School District One Board of Trustees approved a resolution Tuesday which states specific wording for a sales and use tax referendum that will be on the November election ballot.

Voters in School District One will have the opportunity to vote yes or no on the referendum which provides for a one cent sales and use tax which will provide funding for specific capital improvements for local schools.

The law states that at least 10 percent of the proceeds must be used to provide property tax relief by paying existing debt service.

The District One Board decided earlier this year to use 20 percent of the proceeds that would come to the district to help pay off a technology bond used to purchase iPads for every student in the district.

If the referendum is approved, the funds will also be used to install, maintain and improve security and public safety in each school in the district, according to Anderson School District One Superintendent David Havird.

It will also be used for repairing and replacing roofs and HVAC systems, constructing, improving and renovationg and equipping instructional fine arts or athletic spaces of facilities.

Funds can also be used to acquire student transportation vehicles.

Funds can also be used to purchase land for future expansion or construction of school facilities if necessary, he said.

Board members signed the paperwork stating they approved the wording which will be on the general election ballot when voters go to the polls Nov. 4. The tax will be in effect up to 15 years.

Voters in Anderson School Districts 3, 4 and 5 will have similar wording but will also be asked to approve bonds and construction of a career and technical education center for their students.

Havird said it is a privilege to have the opportunity for the sales tax funding to go before the voters of Anderson School District One.

One of the biggest positives, is that it provides property tax relief to business owners.

“Commuters, tourists and transients will help bear the expense and it will not all be on property owners,” Havird said. “This is a substantial opportunity to raise some revenue for our district.”

Havird said another positive is that it is a “pay as you go” system, allowing funding to come in without having to borrow money or issue bonds for large and expensive projects.

He added that Anderson is one of only eight counties in the state which still has a six percent sales tax.

He said the one negative, is that some voters “are not in favor of any tax.”

“We will put it before our voters, abide by the election commmission guidelines and state the positives and negatives and how we will use our money,” Havird said.

According to the Superintendent, representatives of all five school districts met with the Anderson County Legislative Delegation earlier this year to get their support for the measure.

Ten to twelve counties across the state are considering a similar referendum on a sales tax, Havird said.