Charleston County Council votes down sales tax referendum, still chance to revive

VIDEO: Charleston sales tax referendum stalls

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - On Thursday, the Charleston County Council met to discuss the second reading of the sales tax referendum.

Instead of moving forward, the council voted to end the referendum.

"As we've all known the Mark Clark is keeping us from getting other projects done as we saw tonight," Councilmen, Herb Sass said.

The sales tax referendum would bring in $2.1 billion for roads improvements, public transportation and green space. The meeting tonight was the second public hearing of the original three that were scheduled to help the council determine what projects the money would go toward.

Council members say Mark Clark also known has the completion of I-526 has divided the community for years. Tonight people came out on both sides of the argument, both for and against it.

Mayor John Tecklenburg and former Mayor Joe Riley were among the two that were pushing to get it on the ballot referendum.

"We need a combination of funding sources as Mayor Riley said, we don't want to rely solely on a sales tax on the citizens of Charleston County we want to put together a package funding," Tecklenburg said.

Mayor Tecklenburg says the city would sponsor a toll road to help get it completed.

Some community members don't want to see it go through because of its large price tag and impact to rural areas.

"So there's a lot of things that can be done to improve the quality of life and we can spend less time in traffic without spending $750 million dollars," John's Island resident, Glenda Miller said.

The I-526 Completion project is estimated to cost about $725 million.

In the last meeting the council allocated the largest amount of money for road projects, a total of  $1.4 billion. They were looking to use $609.4 million for public transportation and $125 million for green space projects.

Now with no referendum the future of the funding source remains in question.

"526 is the elephant in the room and it's in the room all the time, Sass said. "Sometimes its in the corner sometimes it's right in front of you,we need to get it resolved because we're not getting other stuff done."

People still have hope that the council will reconsider the referendum. It can happen if a council members that voted down the referendum decides to bring the issue back up. This would have to be done by mid august.

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