Town Hall meeting on proposed County Road Fee in Williamston Sept. 23

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By Stan Welch
The latest in a series of town hall meetings intended to explain the proposed road fee has been announced. The meeting will be held at the Williamston Municipal Center at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, September 23rd.
As explained at previous meetings around the county, the need for additional funding for road maintenance stems in large part by the General Assembly’s decision several years ago that reduced the assessment ratio on vehicles from ten and a half per cent to six percent; a decision that results in an annual loss of $4.7 million in tax revenues. Adding to the strain on those funds are the demands of maintaining 1534 miles of county roads and 131 bridges.
Of those miles, only 422 miles are considered to be in excellent shape, with another 692 miles in good condition. The projected cost of bringing all county roads to excellent status is approximately $185 million.
The Anderson County Council has approved $2.2 million for County road improvement projects over the next year. This funding is in addition to the money the State of South Carolina appropriates through the Anderson County Transportation Committee for local transportation projects.
According to county figures, there are 215,000 vehicles registered in Anderson County. A proposed exemption for those over sixty four years of age, or who have handicapped tags, would reduce the vehicles subject to the fee by a total of 47,100, leaving 167,900 vehicles.
That would generate just under $4.2 million a year for use in road maintenance. The ordinance establishing the fee would also prohibit the revenue’s use from anything but county road upkeep; just as the recently enacted gasoline tax increase is not available for use by the counties, being dedicated by law to the upkeep of state roads only.
District Seven Councilwoman Cindy Wilson encourages the public to attend and offer their input. County staff will be on hand to provide information and answer questions.