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Council: Vehicle Tax Fee Needs More Discussion

Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer

The Anderson County Council Planning and Public Works Committee agreed the proposed $25 vehicle fee, which would raise $5.3 million annually and be used exclusively for road maintenance and repair, needs more public input before approval from the full county council. 

“We recognize the need,” said Committee Chairwoman Cindy Wilson, “but we feel it requires more public discourse. We want council to give general consideration of general funds to make sure taxpayers know we’ve done our job.”

The proposed fee, which would be applied to the county’s 215,000 vehicles, and would be paired with a one-mil tax reduction to offset the costs. 

Currently, a combination of paving funds and C-Funds provides approximately $2 million annually for paving in Anderson County. With most roads more than 20 years old, the cost of repairs/maintenance of all roads would require between $8-$10 million per year, according to Anderson County Assistant Administrator Holt Hopkins, who manages the roads and bridges department. 

“We need to pave 100-150 miles of road per year,” Hopkins said. “Most of our roads need full-depth reclamation at a cost of about half a million dollars per mile.”

“Whether or not we have time to do this or not, I don’t know,” said Anderson County Council Councilman Jimmie Davis. “People don’t understand it, there’s a lot of misconception out there. We have to get out there and explain it. I want to see paving happen, because that is the number one complaint. 

Davis said a discussion of exemptions should also be part of the discussions on the vehicle tax fee. 

Meanwhile, the committee agreed to send a number of capital projects for vote to full council, including a new roof on the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, which total $860,000.

The committee also agreed to consider a using digital filing for finance/payroll and potentially other departments as part of the new budget. 

Other items which will be sent to full council for consideration in the FY 2019-2020 budget from Friday’s meeting include:

Funds for flooring and safety doors for the Anderson County Animal Shelter and exploration of the costs of commercial washer/dryer for the facility.

Fleet services requests of $14,000.

Funding of $2.25 million for replacement/precurement of county-owned vehicles.

Reinstating the ramp fee for the Anderson Regional Airport, with exemptions for those who purchase fuel at the airport.

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