SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – The City of Spartanburg is officially supporting the county’s plan for joint government facilities. Voters are now closer to deciding on a sales tax increase to pay for the project.
This all stems from a story we’ve covered here at 7 News about mold at the county courthouse.
“We need it because look at our facilities. They’re very dilapidated,” said Spartanburg Mayor Junie White. “You can’t remodel a building like that and the county is the same way.”
Spartanburg County leaders have been grappling with how to rectify issues – like mold – plaguing the courthouse.
“Our courthouse is falling apart. It has mold,” said Spartanburg District 1 Councilman Sterling Anderson. “Our city hall is well maintained but it’s time to build a new one.”
At a recent joint meeting with the city and county, consultants proposed plans that include a new courthouse and costing almost $217 million.
City council voted unanimously to support a city-county government center located at the current city hall. Plans also include a government parking garage, plus a municipal court and police building.
“It’s not a consolidation of administrative services. It may be easier for the public to go into one place and get anything taken care of for the city and the county,” said Councilman Anderson.
City leaders say it saves money to address the facility concerns now. Voters would decide on a one cent sales tax increase. City leaders say it means visitors would help foot the bill.
“Every time one of these big 18 wheelers goes by and fill up with fuel, they’re going to help us pay for this thing,” said Anderson. “So, it’s not just a burden on the individual tax payers.”
The councils have until August 15th to decide on whether or not to put a referendum on the November ballot to fund the project.
City council also voted to appoint a member of the “sales tax committee.” That committee will make recommendations to county council and write the actual referendum.
The resolution requests the committee “consider a separate City Hall facility” and “new municipal court/police building”, “as well as appropriate structured or surface parking” if county council decides to not propose the city-county government center project.