MT. PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Mt. Pleasant Town Council voted 7-2 Tuesday to put a recreation referendum on the ballot for the November general election.
The referendum seeks to levy a tax increase on property owners to fund future recreation projects.
Now, it will be up to the people of Mt. Pleasant to decide whether or not they’re in favor of the increase.
The proposed tax millage increase is 4.0 mills or 10%. To put that into perspective, a person who owns a $500,000 home would see an increase of around $80 on their annual taxes.
The tax revenue would be used for several specific projects prioritized in the following order:
- Construction, maintenance, and operation of recreation amenities to include: a multipurpose facility gymnasium, art/music/dance and recreational program rooms; athletic fields and facilities to include tennis courts, pickleball courts, disc golf, sand volleyball courts, playground, and picnic pavilions, a grand lawn and performance stage, and all located at the park land on Rifle Range Road.
- Acquisition, construction, maintenance, and operation of a network or portion of a network of multi-use paths known as the Mt. Pleasant way linking key portions of the town including recreation facilities, parks, and neighborhoods.
- Park West Pool renovation and maintenance including the demolition and redesign and building of the lobby, locker rooms, and office to include the addition of family restrooms/changing rooms, and installation of central HVAC.
- Acquisition of green space for land preservation and passive use.
- Mugsy Kerr Tennis Complex maintenance renovation and expansion of the facility.
“We saw through COVID how important physical health is,” said Councilmember Jake Rambo. “The demand increase on parks and playgrounds and fields since then has just grown two-fold.”
The referendum states the increase of 4.0 mills is not to exceed a maximum debt issuance of $50 million.
Councilmembers entered discussion about several items during Tuesday’s meeting including how this would impact taxpayers given the current state of the economy, creating a third option to avoid the ‘all or nothing’ aspect of the referendum, town council raising taxes on their own instead of giving the choice to voters, and adding or taking away parts of the planned projects.
Ultimately, council decided to move forward with the referendum to keep the choice in the hands of the voters.
In June, council unanimously voted to move the referendum forward, but Tuesday two members changed their vote, Mayor Will Haynie and Councilmember Brenda Corley.
Mayor Haynie says after hearing from constituents, he is interested in finding other ways to fund the facilities that doesn’t involve raising taxes.
“Mt. Pleasant deserves world class recreation but I think we deserve some consideration on how much we pay in taxes as well,” said the mayor.