Editor’s note: This is the first in a four-part series on round two of Aiken County’s Capital Projects Sales Tax program. Round two of the program is drawing to a close, and local government administrators are transitioning into round three, which was approved by voters in 2010. Round two was approved by voters in 2004. Today, the Aiken Standard takes a look at the projects in Aiken County that were slated for sales tax funding.
• $2 million for the construction of two new Emergency Medical Services stations, complete with new ambulances and related capital equipment (Aiken’s Southside and Highway 1/Monetta area) and to replace three mobile homes with permanent EMS stations (Silver Bluff High School, J.D. Lever School, and Oakwood-Windsor Elementary)• $4 million to replace Sheriff’s Office vehicles, ambulances, and other vehicles and capital equipment in the County fleet• $2.1 million for surfacing of County streets and roads• $15.9 million for the paving of the following unpaved roadways:Indian Waters Trail from SC-1903 to Stack Road C-634Completed January 2009Cost: $365,835Stack Road from SC-39 to C-635Completed June 2010Cost: $81,035Midway Circle from Whiskey Rd. to Whiskey Rd.Completed May 2009Cost: $262,048Hubert St. from Baker St. to end of C-120Completed June 2008Cost: $81,369Five Notch/Pisgah Rd. intersection improvementsIn constructionSudlow Ln. from Sudlow Lake Rd. to end of C-86Completed December 2011Cost: $222,190Ballard Dr. from Bettis Academy to Mt. Zion Rd.DeletedBrooks Ave. from Spalding Dr. to Wilds Ave.Completed June 2008Cost: $248,383Wilds Ave. from Brooks Ave. to Dougherty Rd.Completed June 2008Cost: $57,190Rogers Rd. from Hwy. 1 North to endCompleted June 2008Cost: $416,088Shawscrest Dr. from Rogers Rd. to Hwy. 1 NorthCompleted June 2008Cost: $90,062Wagontong Rd. from Settlement Rd. to S-21DeletedValley Dr. to Hankinson St.DeletedTennis Ranch Rd. from Old Jackson Hwy. to end of C-203Completed April 2009Cost: $379,919Curry Dr. from Celesta Ave. to end of CurryDeletedLeanne Dr. from Palmetto Farms to end of C-552Completed June 2008Cost: $152,308River Rd. from S-14 to S-183Completed November 2008Cost: $247,031Pine View Dr. from Dogwood Dr. to SizemoreCompleted June 2010Cost: $199,189Saddle Horse Rd. from Piney Heights Rd. to end of C-248Completed November 2009Cost: $203,655Rebel Rd. from Good Springs Rd. to I-20Completed November 2008Cost: $133,167Earl Church Rd. from S-264 to churchCompleted November 2008Cost: $361,949Bluff Landing Rd. from SC-5 to endCompleted November 2010Cost: $389,345Pride Ave. from Sudlow Lake Rd. to end of C-97Completed August 2009Cost: $140,014Springfield Church Rd. from Hwy. 19 North to Edgefield County lineCompleted February 2009Cost: $91,569Joe Scott Rd. from S-183 to C-897DeletedAspen Court from SC Hwy. 278 to endCompleted May 2012Cost: $265,902Toole Circle from end of pavement to end of dirtCompleted September 2009Cost: $259,846Wooduck Way from SC Hwy. 19 North to endCompleted February 2009Cost: $495,089Williams-Evans Rd. from S-212 to S-150Acquiring right-of-wayHunting Hills Dr. from S-302 for .61 milesCompleted June 2010Cost: $207,439Keys Dairy Rd. from Pine Log Rd. to end of C-1036Completed May 2009Cost: $128,870Mallard Court from Hwy. 19 to end of C-35Completed February 2009 Cost: $194,694Rawls Mill Pond Rd. from Hwy. 21 to S-246DeletedSunshine Circle from S-1973 to endCompleted October 2010Cost: $224,009Oakbrook Dr. S-1973 to endCompleted October 2010Cost: $85,864Mixon Rd. from Old Friar Rd. to endCompleted June 2010Cost: $171,645Kedron Church Rd. from end of state maintenance to Wire Rd.Completed July 2010Cost: $920,415Broadway St. from Dry Branch Rd. to endCompleted May 2012Cost: $80,684Archie Ware Rd. from Mt. Calvary to one mile markCompleted July 2012Cost: $313,404Bagwell Rd. from Blue Poppy Rd. to Nazarene Rd.Completed July 2009Cost: $191,522Greenbrush Rd. from Hwy. 302 for .40 milesCompleted May 2012Cost: $181,262Oak Ridge Club Rd. from C-795 to C-576Completed August 2012Cost: $1,032,266Wimpy Rd. from US-78 to S-113Completed July 2012Cost: $429,100Holder Rd. SC-39 to damCompleted December 2012Hoover Rd. from Rocky Grove to Warner Rd.Acquiring right-of-wayOtis Baughman Sr. Rd. from S-14 to S-1776Notice to proceed with constructionShadow Lane Rd. from SC-302 to SC-39Acquiring right-of-wayBodie Rd. from Camp Rawls Rd. to Flowing WellsIn design• $2 million for permissible capital projects in conjunction with brownfield restoration in Horse Creek Valley:Seminole MillCompleted December 2010Cost: $463,533• $750,000 for connector roads Dougherty Rd. and for engineering and planning on the Whiskey Rd./Silver Bluff Rd. connectorIn progress• $2 million for public infrastructure improvements in connection with the Palmetto Parkway Phase IICompleted December 2009Handled by SCDOT• $600,000 for capital renovations, repairs, and construction of the Aiken County Historical MuseumCompleted August 2008• $1.14 million for capital renovations, repairs, and construction of Aiken County main library, Nancy Carson Branch Library, New Ellenton Branch Library, Wagener Branch Library, and Midland Valley Branch Library• $225,000 Aiken County Judicial CenterCompleted• $1.5 million for capital renovations of existing recreational parksCompleted• $1.5 million for additional capital development of Langley Pond ParkCompleted December 2009Cost: $1.5 million• $1 million for greenway and open space land purchase and developmentIn progress• $1.5 million for construction of a regional recreational parkIn progress• $643,500 for Athol drainage projectAcquiring right-of-way• $70,200 for Vanderbilt/College Acres drainage projectAcquiring right-of-way• $374,000 for Audubon drainage projectIn construction• $175,5000 for Woodwardia drainage projectAcquiring right-of-way• $58,500 for Hunters Glen drainage projectCompleted• $177,900 for Hitchcock Woods drainage project• $250,000 for Kalmia Hills drainage project• $12 million for the construction of a new County Office ComplexIn construction• $500,000 for the construction of a publicly-owned Child Advocacy Center• The next $2 million collected was to be distributed to the City of Aiken for further construction and capital improvements of a Northside recreational park• $9.5 million for additional County roads to be paved:Fire Tower Rd. from SC-78 to S-113Completed September 2010Cost: $1,266,136Cassel St. extension from Jackson Rd. to S-1332DeletedRoundtree Rd. from Hwy. 125 to Hwy. 125Acquiring right-of-wayElla Quiller Rd. from Breezy Hill Rd. to Old Cherokee Rd.Acquiring right-of-wayOld Kimball Trail from US-1 to Jordan Rd.DeletedWilds Ave. from Spalding Dr. to Brooks Ave.Completed June 2008Cost: $57,190Elon St. from Brooks Ave. to Wilds Ave.Deleted
Aiken County government officials have been quoted time and again that without funds generated by the one-cent Capital Projects Sales Tax, miles of roads would go unpaved and law enforcement and emergency medical equipment to provide efficient service could not be acquired and maintained.
Not without a tax increase, that is.
The one-cent tax, which applies to the gross proceeds of sales in Aiken County, excluding unprepared food if purchased with food stamps, generated an estimated $114.4 million dollars in round two. Tax revenue was split among the County, the cities of Aiken, North Augusta and New Ellenton, and the towns of Burnettown, Jackson, Monetta, Perry, Wagener, Salley and Windsor.
Aiken County received an estimated $50.5 million, which was slated for the purchase of new ambulances and police cars, recreational park development, road paving and resurfacing, among other things.
“We’ve hit everything on that list,” said Joe Berry, engineer for Aiken County. “With the roads, there is no way to raise enough money to do (pave or resurface) roads. (Capital Projects Sales Tax) is an outstanding program for getting work done. A lot of stuff has been accomplished.”
Capital Projects Sales Tax was first approved by voters in 2000. Round three, which will begin soon, is estimated to generate $145 million. Round three’s penny tax will not be collected on top of round two.
Revenue generated by the tax must fund a project that has a public function. It cannot be used to fund salaries or operations.
• $12 million for the construction of a new County Office Complex
Design drawings by architects McMillan Pazdan Smith show the roughly 130,000-square-foot complex with a three-story front elevation facing University Parkway and a two-story rear elevation facing Lincoln Avenue. Lincoln Avenue borders the back of the property. The exterior schematics show a brick facade, a clock tower cupola, stately columns, a ground-level entrance and two curving stairways leading up to a second-floor entrance.
Status: In progress; projected completion date February 2014
Cost: Estimated total project cost $37.6 million; $12 million from Capital Projects Sales Tax II. The remainder will be paid with general obligation bonds
• $2 million for the construction of two new Emergency Medical Services stations, complete with new ambulances and related capital equipment (Aiken’s Southside and Highway 1/Monetta area) and to replace three mobile homes with permanent EMS stations (Silver Bluff High School, J.D. Lever School, and Oakwood-Windsor Elementary)
Substation 9 College Acres (Aiken’s Southside)
Status: Completed Jan. 1, 2009
* Joint project between Aiken County and City of Aiken
Substation 10, to be located on three acres at the corner of Wire Road and Highway 39 (Monetta area)
Status: Bids open for construction
Cost: $14,300 purchase price for land. Roughly $400,000 has been allocated for the project
Substation 3 off Williston Road (replace EMS mobile home at Silver Bluff High School)
Status: In progress
Cost: $20,000 purchase price for land
Substation 6 (replace EMS mobile home at J.D. Lever)
Status: In progress
Cost: Acquiring right-of-way
Substation 7 on Cedar Drive (replace EMS mobile home at Oakwood-Windsor)
Status: In progress; bids open for construction
Cost: $12,000 purchase price for land
Substation 5 on York Street
Status: Completed November 2012
Cost: Total project $1.5 million; $400,000 came from Capital Projects Sales Tax II
• $1.14 million for capital renovations, repairs, and construction of Aiken County main library, Nancy Carson Branch Library, New Ellenton Branch Library, Wagener Branch Library, and Midland Valley Branch Library
Aiken County main library
Floor covering replacement/improvements, gutter repair, soffits, downspouts, all windows reglazed
Cost: Unavailable as of press time
New Ellenton Branch Library
Brand new, 2,337-square foot library next to City Hall. The new library has more reading and meeting space, more computer stations and a self-checkout station at the circulation desk.
Status: Completed April 2012
Cost: Approximately $465,000
Nancy Bonnette Library (Wagener branch)
Renovations to the existing building and an addition of 1,449 square feet. The library now has a larger reading area, meeting space, more computer stations and a self-checkout station at the circulation desk.
Status: Completed April 2012
Cost: Approximately $285,000
Midland Valley Branch Library
Renovate floor, painted interior, stripe parking lot, replace carpet, repair and repaint exterior
Cost: Unavailable as of press time
Nancy Carson Library (North Augusta)
New windows, new HVAC system
Cost: Unavailable at press time
• $1.5 million for additional capital development of Langley Pond Park
The County purchased the 285-acre pond and the shoreline strip, and the Aiken Land Conservancy (ALC) retains 64 acres of what has been termed the “upland” portion. The County is working on plans to develop active recreation capabilities on the shoreline, which could include a grandstand viewing area and additional parking designed to attract larger rowing and sculling races throughout the year. The ALC portion will be left forested for passive recreation.
Status: Completed in December 2009
Cost: $1.5 million
• $500,000 for the construction of a publicly-owned Child Advocacy Center
The center initially operated out of one room at the United Way of Aiken County offices. Then it was located in a small office downtown, according to its website. In August of 2008, it moved into a new building especially designed for it funded largely by Capital Projects Sales Tax II.
“The mission of the Child Advocacy Center of Aiken County is to provide a safe environment and supportive services which promote healing to abused children and their families through intervention, treatment and prevention,” according to its website.
Status: Completed August 2008
• $4 million to replace Sheriff’s Office vehicles, ambulances, and other vehicles and capital equipment in the County fleet
Cost: $4 million
Tthe brand new New Ellenton Branch Library, located next to City Hall, opened last year.×
The existing Nancy Bonnette Library in Wagener was renovated and received a 1,449-square-foot addition.×
Three new ambulances, which will be added to the Aiken County Emergency Services fleet in the coming weeks, were on display. The ambulances were purchased with one cent sales tax funds at a total of roughly $350,000.×
The new Aiken County Government Center is under construction on University Parkway.×
Round two of Capital Projects Sales Tax funded construction of the Child Advocacy Center.×