SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – Monday night, Spartanburg leaders heard plans that could lead to a tax increase and a new government complex.
At a joint council meeting Monday, consultants met with city and county councils to show them estimates for a new courthouse and a new joint government building.
“These are some of the oldest buildings in our city, and it’s time to replace them,” says Jerome Rice, the District 5 Representative on City Council.
“We have to have a new courthouse. that’s been coming for a long time, and 60 years is too long to let a building go,” says Roger Nutt, the District 6 Representative on County Council.
For months, WSPA has told you about mold issues at the Spartanburg County Courthouse. It’s not just the ongoing mold issue council members are worried about, they’re also worried about security.
“We do not have a way to separate citizens, judges, and inmates. They’re in the same location, in the same hallway, and we just don’t need that,” says Bob Walker, the District 5 Representative on County Council.
The county is looking to build a brand new courthouse, and a joint building for city and county governments.
“We have two old facilities that we have to address,” Rice says. “Every time we have budget talks as far as the city goes, it’s all about our building. what are going to do with the city hall?”
The hefty price tag of nearly $217 million means council members need to figure out a way to pay for the project that won’t cost the public.
“A penny sales tax goes for everybody. All the visitors that come here, people from out of town that come here, they have to do business, they all pay that penny sales tax,” Nutt says. “So it’s not just a burden on property owners here in Spartanburg County, it’s a burden on everybody.”
The councils have until August 15th to decide on whether or not to put a referendum on the November ballot to fund the project.