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Sumter County proposes third penny sales tax

If approved, it would be the third penny tax increase since 2008.

SUMTER COUNTY, S.C. — Sumter County is proposing a third round of its Capital Projects Sales Tax, known as the Penny for Progress. This one-cent sales tax funds capital improvement projects throughout the county.

If approved, it would be the third penny tax increase since 2008.

“We need help in our communities, this is the only way we’re gonna get it is to work together. And I think this will help our town grow," said Sumter County resident Patricia Morris.

The first Penny for Progress in 2008 helped fund the Patriot Park Sportsplex and the Sumter County Judicial Center. 

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The second increase in 2014 helped fund a public safety center for the Sumter Fire Department and Sumter Police Department.

"We do know that based on the history, the last or the current capital penny tax we're working in, county roads were a priority and I expect it will be a priority again because the need is so great," said Sumter County administrator Gary Mixon.

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Each penny sales tax increase has taken place over a seven year period. The county says there was an estimated $154 million raised in taxes between the first and second series of the tax altogether. It projects the third series will raise about $82 million.

However, some people did not support the tax. We reached out to people on Facebook and these were some of the comments:

Adrienne Kansiewicz, "If we get an accounting of every penny spent year after year, an explanation why the roads are horrific, and exactly what they plan to spend the penny tax on, I might possibly consider supporting it, but since the likelihood of us getting a straight answer from the people who are supposed to work for and represent us is less likely than pigs sprouting wings, I will not be supporting this."

Johnny McCoy said, "Fix our roads with the tax money and road user fees you have already collected before you try to tackle more projects that take more of our money. Wheels, tire and alignments also add to the taxes Sumter already gets, so we don't need any new projects. 

Adrienne Kansiewicz says in part, "If we get an accounting of every penny spent year after year, an explanation why the roads are horrific, and exactly what they plan to spend the penny tax on, I might possibly consider supporting it."

The county says Capital Penny Sales Tax Penny Commission will decide how the tax money will be allocated. The commission will be formed in February.