Vote nears for $109 million bond referendum

LAURENS COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – More than one hundred people attended that rally about raising taxes to build a new high school. Laurens County voters have just two weeks to decide on a $109 million bond referendum.

“If a community can’t afford it they can’t afford it, you can’t get blood out of a turnip,” said Dianne Belsom.  “We can’t afford this tax increase.”

Potential voters filed into the Capitol Theater two weeks before heading to the polls.

“Get people together to present information and encourage people to get the vote out,” said Belsom.

The vote is to decide on borrowing the money build a brand new campus for Laurens District 55 High School.

“So that we can give children the tools that they need to be successful in the 21st century,” said Jamie Baldwin with the ‘Vote Yes’ campaign. “Right now we don’t have room.”

She says the current high school is outdated and a new campus would be worth the tax increase.

For every $1,000 of your home’s value, it’s an extra $2.24 per year. For other properties like vehicles, each $1,000 in value would mean an extra $3.36 per year.

“It’s my responsibility as a member of this community to give the kids what they need,” said Baldwin.

Opponents say the bottom line is folks with a fixed income can’t afford to pay more in taxes, and district leaders need to find a cheaper alternative to improving education.

“My feeling is this referendum will fail,” said Belsom. “The vast majority of people I’ve talked to are opposed to it but in any election it always hinges on getting the vote out.”

Baldwin says they have the support to pass the referendum, and are planning to host another rally before Election Day.

The vote for the bond referendum will be held on September 5th.

Visit websites for the VOTE NO and VOTE YES campaigns for more information on their platforms.