Columbia County commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a list of projects to be funded by the renewal of the special purpose local option sales tax.
The sales tax package now must win over voters, who can approve or disapprove the referendum when they see it on the ballot of the Nov. 4 general election.
The package includes numerous projects in storm water, transportation, recreation and public safety projects.
Highlights of the package are $56.7 million for an expansion of the Justice Center in Evans, $4 million for a consolidated county health department, $20.2 million to retire debt and $4.3 million in improvements for Evans Town Center Park.
Those projects would be funded with sales taxes collected between 2011 and 2016. If voters approve the referendum, officials likely will issue bonds to provide up-front financing for some projects, then repay those bonds as sales tax revenues come in.
Sales tax revenues rely on retail spending within the county, so there is no guarantee that the county will collect all $180 million as projected. Thus, the tax projects are split into three tiers, with the most urgent projects categorized into Tier 1.
In a separate referendum vote, commissioners gave final approval to a resolution to issue an $18 million general obligation bond for the construction of an aquatic and tennis center. It, too, must win over voters in the general election.
Some commissioners recently said a natatorium and tennis facility could become a tourist draw for those traveling to the area for tournaments and swim meets.
In other meeting news, commissioners recognized Renee Peloquin of the county's Construction and Maintenance Services as employee of the month and the county procurement department for winning the Achievement in Excellence in Procurement Award.
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