The Van Wyck News
|Volume 6 Number 8
||A Voice for Freedom||4 April 2014|
Capital Project Sales Tax - MechanicsThe 1% sales tax imposed to pay for the new courthouse will expire when the bonds used to finance the new courthouse are paid off toward the end of 2015. County government is proposing that this tax be continued for another seven years and the funds used to finance new projects. Under the law the projects to be done must be selected by a committee of citizens appointed by County Council (the Capital Sales Tax Project Commission), the list of projects must be approved by County Council and the entire package, including the list of projects, must be approved by the voters at a general election.
The members of the Capital Project Sales Tax Commission have been appointed, have met several times and have decided to seek public input concerning projects to be considered. Generally any capital project which public money can be used to finance is eligible. This means that repaving roads, improving recreational facilities such as ballfields, facilities owned by the School District, building or improving public buildings or publically owned facilities such as the County Vehicle Maintenance Facility are all possibilities. The project must be specifically described; for instance if a road repaving is suggested, the exact section of road to be repaved must be included; e.g., Van Wyck Road between the intersection with Rte 521 and the intersection with Rte 75.
The 1% sales tax is expected to yield about $45MM over seven years; this could be spent as it comes in (about $6.5MM per year) or used to finance a bond for about $34MM, which could be spent all at once beginning in 2016.
A form is available here, which can be filled out and submitted electronically or printed and filled out manually. More information on the kind of projects available including where to send the project suggestion forms and how to ask other questions of the Commission is available here.
A number of Public Hearings will be held where members of the public are welcome to address the members of the Capital Project Sales Tax Commission on any relevant topic. The schedule of Public Hearings is as follows:
Thursday, April 24, 2014 – 6:30 p.m. at the Lancaster County Administration Building, Council Chambers, 101 N. Main Street, Lancaster, SC 29720.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 – 6:30 p.m. at the Indian Land Recreation Center, 8286 Charlotte Highway, Indian Land, SC 29707.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 – 6:30 p.m. at the Buford Recreation Center, 4073 Hurley Walters Road, Lancaster, SC 29720.
Thursday, May 8, 2014 – 6:30 p.m. at the Andrew Jackson Recreation Center, 6354 North Matson Street, Kershaw, SC 29067
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 – 6:30 p.m. at the Heath Springs Town Hall, 103 Duncan Street, Heath Springs, SC 29058.
All input to the Commission must be received by 30 May 2014. The Commission must prepare the ballot question for submission to County Council by the end of June. County Council may approve or deny but may not change the proposal by the Commission. Approval must be by ordinance, which requires passage at three successive Council meetings. The ballot question must be in the hands of the Election Commission by mid-August in order to be on the ballot for the General Election in November 2014.
Capital Project Sales Tax ThinkThe Capital Project Sales Tax is being proposed by County Government as a way to get the County's roads fixed, although, as outlined at left, it can be used for other things as well. This approach has been used in York County for fifteen years ("Pennies for Progress") and has resulted in the best roads in the state.
The difficulty with this is that the taxpayers are already paying to get their roads fixed three times and the work is not getting done because the money is being siphoned off and used for other things by the state and county governments.
The Federal Government levies taxes on gasoline and tires which are remitted to the states for use to build and repair roads. The State levies taxes on gasoline and licenses that are supposed to be used to repair roads. The County levies a tax on vehicle registrations called the Road Fee that is supposed to be used to repair roads. There is plenty of tax money to repair roads, the problem is that it is far too easy for legislators to divert this money to other uses, leaving citizens who want their roads repaired to tax themselves yet again.
Summaries of current (2014) efforts in the Legislature to continue this systematic diversion of road repair funds to other uses are available from the Nerve, the publication of the South Carolina Policy Council and can be found here and here.
The Local Government Fund is another example of this sort of corruption. State mandated services to be provided by local governments are usually funded in the original state law, with the funding going in to the Local Government Fund. When the time comes to pay the Local Government Fund money to the local governments, the Legislature usually decides to pay out only a fraction of the money, typically around 65%, to the local governments, spending the rest for other purposes. This leaves the local governments taxing people a second time to provide the state mandated services. This practice costs Lancaster County taxpayers more than $1MM each year in taxes that they have to pay to the state and the County for the same services.
It should be noted that this is not the end of the situation in that the County Government has the same disease that the State Government does. County Council routinely imposes special purpose taxes for popular causes and then spends the money for other things. Over the last few years Lancaster County residents have seen their Road Fee tax rise substantially without one single additional pothole being filled as County Council reduced the General Fund contribution to road repairs dollar for dollar matching the increase in the Road Fee tax, thus using the increased road fee to increase the General Fund.
Government operates on the assumption that voters forget and that if the need that they steal funding from is great enough, eventually the voters will forget that they funded it once and fund it again. That is exactly what is happening here.
Voters have been far too willing to overlook this kind of behavior. It should be noted that members of the legislature are proposing to increase the gasoline tax next year. There is absolutely no point to this unless some way can be found to assure that the money will actually be used to fix roads.
Easter Egg Hunt
An Easter Egg Hunt will be held on Saturday 12 April at 10:00 AM for children 10 years old and younger at the Community Building. Bring an Easter basket; eggs will be provided. The rain date will be 19 April.
David AlexanderLong time Van Wyck resident David Alexander passed on 31 March 2014 at the age of 91. David served in World War II, came to Van Wyck after the war and bought land which he farmed for many years. He raised his family and served his church and community in many capacities over the years. Known for his dry wit and self-effacing manner, David will be sorely missed. Memorials should be sent to Van Wyck Presbyterian Church, PO Box 68, Van Wyck, SC 29744.
Sheriff's Accreditation CeremonyThe Lancaster County Sheriff's Office will be presented with its certification as a Nationally Accredited Law Enforcement Agency in a ceremony at the Historic Courthouse, 100 N. Main St., Lancaster, at noon on Monday 7 April 2014. Refreshments will be served.
National accreditation is one of the highest honors that a law enforcement agency can achieve. It assures citizens that their law enforcement agency is operating to the highest standards available, and represents a lot of effort over several years. Sheriff Barry Faile and his law enforcement team deserve a lot of credit for a level of accomplishment achieved by few others in South Carolina.
Comprehensive Plan UpdateAn update on the status of the Lancaster County Comprehensive Plan will be provided by the Catawba Region Council of Governments on 17 April at the Native American Studies Center, 119 S. Main St., Lancaster beginning at 5:30 PM. Senior Planner Robby Moody will provide information concerning population trends in the area. Flyer.