Each year the City of Greenville conducts street improvements through its asphalt paving program.
For more than 15 years, the Greenville City Council has used a half-cent sales tax to fund the program.
This year’s work is underway and at Monday night’s special council meeting, members learned the cost will be much more than originally anticipated.
The plan was to address sections of Elm, Eastern and Willow Streets. The budget for that was set at $256,580.
After work recently started, it was learned Elm Street did not have the proper road base, and curb and guttering needed to be replaced on Willow Street.
The council approved the extra costs, which totaled $253,000.
That led to a discussion of possibly placing a referendum on the ballot to seek an increase in the sales tax from one-half cent to one cent.
City Manager Dave Willey explained the situation the city faces with street improvements. He said as the street projects are done each year, especially over the past few years, they are discovering roads that have aged out to the point where the base is deteriorating or roads that didn’t have sufficient base in the first place. He said rebuilding a road vs. resurfacing a road can be double – or more – the cost. Willey said the half-cent sales tax in Greenville has been effective, but with more and more roads being discovered with these issues, it’s getting tougher to accomplish the work with the roads.
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The half cent tax currently brings in about $300,000 per year.
Willey said if the council wants to put the referendum on the ballot next spring, it would have to take action no later than the December meeting.
It appeared to be the consensus of the council that the public should have the chance to voice its opinion on the sales tax issue at the polls.