The Capital Initiative
Our View: Capital Initiative would benefit Clinton.
The Capital Initiative, a 1-cent addition to the county sales tax would give Clinton a shot in the arm.
Three projects of the 16 that will be before Laurens County Voters on the Nov. 3, 2020 ballot will be inside the Clinton city limits. These are: A New Library, the Martha Dendy School-Community Center, and Infrastructure improvements. If Laurens County voters entrust us with the money to do these projects, Clinton will be an economic force driver within Laurens County.
We are not telling anyone how to vote. We understand the challenge in voting for a tax increase right now (during an economic slowdown).
We also know Clinton needs these improvements:
LIBRARY: This is a $4.3 million project to replace an outdated and small library location in Clinton. Where it will be located on West Main Street will be in very convenient walking distance of an apartment complex; hundreds of children will have very ready access to library services. Its parking lot will be a great help to a Clinton economic driver - The Cotton Loft events venue, one block away.
MARTHA DENDY: The City of Clinton has committed $100,000 of its own money to this project. The sales tax will add $756,000 for re-habbing the building (none of the sales tax money can be used for salaries). The Martha Dendy committee made a very impressive presentation to the sales tax committee, and this led to this project being among those recommended for the projected $35 million in spending to be financed by the 1-cent increase in sales tax (it sunsets in six years).
INFRASTRUCTURE: The City of Clinton needs to get out from under the SC DHEC Consent Order ASAP, no industry is going to take a serious look at us otherwise. This replacement of water and sewer lines is something the city should do on its own; however, with the current tax base, it could take decades to accomplish. This is the next to last project on the priority list, so if the money is running out, it won’t get done.
Our City is still recovering from the death of the Mill Culture. We have made strides - General Electric has a wind turbine research facility in Clinton - but progress is slow. The Global COVID-19 Economic Slowdown has left us with a vacant spec building. Like many small South Carolina towns of old money, we desperately need a stimulus.
And, some people will say, “That’s your problem.” It fully well is, and we have embraced it; but, together, we are stronger than any of our parts is alone. We can all succeed together.
A pandemic is not the best time to be asking for a sales tax increase. Still, the need for these improvements could outweigh the inconvenience of paying a little more each purchase.
Voters can look at this an investment — this tax expires after 6 years, that will go by fast. Then Clinton will be well-positioned again, for beyond 2021.
And voters can look at this as government picking pockets clean at the worst possible time.
The vote could be close. We’ll see a push from both sides of the argument leading up to Election Day. This is democracy in action.
Clinton would benefit from the referendum passing. Laurens County would benefit from the referendum passing.
You the voter decide whether the benefit is worth the price you pay.