James Island Town Council considering food and beverage tax

VIDEO:James Island Town Council considering food and beverage tax

JAMES ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - A two percent hospitality tax could be coming to the Town of James Island. The funds could go towards road improvements from the Rethink Folly Road - A Complete Streets Study .

Folly Road and Camp Road improvements are underway, but the money would  go towards the big picture of making the entire stretch of Folly Road friendlier for all types of transportation.

Johns Island resident, Andrew Young spends a lot of time in the James Island area. He says he supports the tax increase.

"The traffic is just horrible and if I was given a bike route I would be all for it," Young said.

Many James Island residents say they are tired of traffic and they want to feel safe traveling by different methods.

The Rethink Folly Road - Complete Streets Study is a joint effort by several local and state agencies to enhance modes of travel including cars, walking, transit and bikes.

"I would 100 percent love to be able to bike from my house on Johns Island all the way to Folly Beach," Young said.

Officials say a 2 percent hospitality tax could help fund bike lanes, complete sidewalks and improve traffic signals. The tax would apply to restaurants, bars, and could also impact convenience store purchases.

"Even though the money is going towards something that we use on a daily basis...you also have to consider who wants to pay extra taxes on top of what they're already paying" James Island resident, Kaylen Thomas said.

James Island Mayor Bill Woolsey says the tax would bring in about $400,000 a year. It's a small piece to larger price tag. He anticipates the funding will come from various sources. It's an intergovernmental project that will impact various jurisdictions.

"We don't go out a lot because of the taxes and the prices and things like that, so I just don't see having a tax increase, I don't think it's good common sense," James Island resident, Catherine Deogburn said.

While locals might not agree on the where the funding should come from, people want transportation improvements especially concerning traffic.

"Make sure we can can actually see a difference in the roads when it comes to red lights, make sure we can actually see where our money is going to," Thomas said.

Officials say the money could also be used for other projects. James Island Town Council will make a final vote on the hospitality tax on May 19. If approved, the tax will go in effect July 1.

The study is joint effort among James Island, the City of Charleston, Charleston County, Folly Beach, DOT, the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments and the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority.

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