Tonight, Richland County Council will demonstrate its willingness to put a transportation-related question on the November ballot.
Councilman Paul Livingston said he’ll ask the council to establish a community-based committee to review the road, pedestrian and transit projects that could be completed with a local sales tax.
Livingston said the group could come back with a variety of options, depending on the number of years the tax was collected and whether the county opts for a penny sales tax or a portion of a penny on the dollar.
If council gives the nod, it would be the first move toward a referendum since voters narrowly rejected a tax in November 2010.
Livingston said he’s asking for an advisory committee representing the county, the city of Columbia and the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce. Joining them would be select members from a citizen’s committee that advised local officials in 2010. That citizen’s group worked with a consultant to develop an objective starting point for projects that would have been funded by with sales-tax revenues.
Livingston said Monday he’s pursuing “a process for getting things prepared for the ballot and getting something for the council to agree upon.”
Bringing more people into the discussion would streamline the decision-making process and allow local officials to “start out on one accord,” he said.
Two years ago, voters were asked to approve a penny sales tax for 25 years, generating an estimated $1 billion.
This time around, if it goes to a vote, some council members have said they’d prefer a seven- or 10-year tax, giving the county an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to voters.