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Voters in Newberry County can add their two cents on a new penny tax

The new tax will replace the current one that expires in 2024. If approved, it will allow for 12 new projects in Newberry County.

NEWBERRY, S.C. — Residents in Newberry County got their first chance to vote on a penny sales tax on Monday as early voting began in the county and across South Carolina. 

If approved, residents will see a total of 12 projects being completed. 

"This is a continuation of an existing penny sales tax, and it's probably good to know that it does not apply to food purchases," said Christopher Inglese, the Newberry County administrator. 

The sales tax will fund 12 different projects, one of which is a Newberry County Public Safety Complex. 

"It will house the Friendly Fire department, but it will also benefit all of the fire departments," Inglese said. "We continue to enhance the training facility that's there, one of the missing things is a classroom for the facility and so the new public safety complex will include classrooms for training dorms."

It's also opening the door for the first paid firefighters in the county, as it is currently a volunteer-only operation. 

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It's an idea residents like Wynn Phillips agree should take place. 

"A lot of fire engine activity in this town, so it can only save a home or a family," Phillips said. 

Another hot topic item is the Newberry Amphitheater which would bring more live performances to the area. 

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"Opera holds 425, so we can't get any little bit larger acts to come here so that's kinda limiting, I think we believe we can get about 1,000 people here on this natural meadow," said Newberry Mayor Foster Senn. 

"I would really love the amphitheater, and like, an extra cent on each dollar is kinda worth that to me," said Claire Wooten. "I understand where some people may not see it as an opportunity, but I for one would really love to see those things happen here."

If residents vote to continue the penny sales tax, it will go into effect in 2024 which is when most construction is expected to take place. 

For the complete list of projects, visit the Newberry County website

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