Dorchester County Council moves to begin process for new parks and libraries bond referendums

Dorchester County News

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – In November, Dorchester County voters may once again be asked if they would like the county to issue bonds to fund new parks and libraries.

Dorchester County Council members passed the first reading of two ordinances on Monday night that would order two bond referendums asking residents if they want the county to spend up to $30 million on parks and $30 million on libraries.

The ordinances come after the state Supreme Court ruled in May that the county’s 2016 bond referendum was unlawful because it combined the two issues in one question.

Counilman Jay Byars says that county council is seeking to put the referendums back on the ballot because residents have been asking for the new facilities.

“We’ve been talking to constituents for years – they want to see parks and libraries – we know that they want to see parks and libraries. The Supreme Court ruled that we have to have separate questions for those issues so we’re going to put out separate questions – we’re vetting that to make sure that it’s the right question so we can move this forward,” said Councilman Byars.

The 2016 bond referendum provided up to $13 million for parks and $30 million for libraries.

Byars said that the increased construction costs and higher interest rates were part of the reason why costs would be higher under the new parks referendum but he also said that the parks would be more developed than under the former plans.

“[The Ashley River Park is] going to have a splash pad, a large playground, dog park, fishing pond, trails, a wedding pavilion,” he said.

Two additional readings of the ordinance have to be passed by county council by Aug. 15 for the referendum questions to be placed on the 2019 election ballot.

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