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Sales Tax Commission doesn’t act on Smith’s request during Thursday meeting

June 9, 2018 GMT

Aiken County Councilman Chuck Smith didn’t get what he was hoping for during the Capital Project Sales Tax Commission’s meeting at the Aiken County Government Center on Thursday night.

During a previous Commission meeting, Smith had asked the panel to make changes to County Council’s list of Capital Project Sales Tax IV projects so that $2.5 million would be allocated for gateway corridor improvements.

No mention was made of that request during a review of County Council’s list Thursday, and Smith didn’t ask for a chance to plead his case again.

“I asked the Commission to reallocate, and they’ve chosen not to do that, apparently, because they haven’t addressed it yet,” Smith said. “I will continue to come to these meetings with goal of seeing some change made. If it doesn’t happen, I can’t support it (Sales Tax IV). I won’t support it.”

Smith believes projects in his district, which includes North Augusta, won’t receive a fair share of the County’s portion of Sales Tax IV.

On North Augusta’s list of Sales Tax IV projects, there is an allotment of $2 million for upgrades on Martintown Road at the U.S. Route 1 interchange. The plan was to use the money Smith wants for gateway improvements to help fund that project.

Because Smith has failed, so far, in his effort to get the Sales Tax Commission to act, North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover said he “would assume” that North Augusta City Council would choose to reallocate that money.

“My guess,” Glover added, is that the funds probably would “stay within” the Public Works and Transportation Projects category on North Augusta’s list.

“We don’t have the money we need without the County’s participation,” Glover said.

While describing himself as disappointed, Glover said he felt better about the situation after hearing comments made by Aiken County Attorney Jim Holly during the meeting.

Talking about how the County’s $9-million Sales Tax IV allocation for improvements along the Whiskey Road corridor would be used in a joint effort with the City of Aiken, Holly said he would recommend a policy to County Council that the money be spent on upgrades in the County and not on those in Aiken’s city limits.

Smith and others in North Augusta have been upset that the County has such a large allotment for a project they believe doesn’t benefit them.

If none of the County’s Whiskey Road money is spent in the city limits of Aiken, Glover said, “then I don’t think there is an issue because we certainly couldn’t ask for (County funds for) something in the city limits of North Augusta,” which is where the Martintown Road/U.S. 1 interchange is located.