FAQS

What was the bond referendum and when did it take place?

On Nov. 7, Spartanburg County voters approved through referendum a special one percent sales tax to be imposed in Spartanburg County for 6 years to raise the amounts specified for the following purposes.

Priority
No.
Project Description Cost
1 Replacement of current City of Spartanburg and Spartanburg County judicial facilities
(to include a new Spartanburg County Courthouse, City of Spartanburg municipal court/police facilities, Spartanburg County emergency operations center (currently located in the basement of the County Courthouse), and associated parking and infrastructure, in one or more structures)
$ 151,519,154
2 Replacement of current City of Spartanburg City Hall and Spartanburg County Administrative Building
(to include new joint use government center facilities to serve both the City of Spartanburg and Spartanburg County, and associated parking and infrastructure, in one or more structures)
65,326,428
3 Road and Bridge Projects
(to include the then highest priority projects identified in the County’s Capital Improvement Plan after taking into account the availability of State and other funds)
7,554,418
Total $ 224,400,000

On Nov. 7, Spartanburg County voters approved through referendum a special one percent sales tax to be imposed in Spartanburg County for 6 years to raise the amounts specified for the following purposes.

 

Projects:

Priority #1:

  • Replacement of current City of Spartanburg and Spartanburg County judicial facilities
    (to include a new Spartanburg County Courthouse, City of Spartanburg municipal court/police facilities, Spartanburg County emergency operations center (currently located in the basement of the County Courthouse), and associated parking and infrastructure, in one or more structures)
  • Cost: 151,519,154

 

Priority #2:

  • Replacement of current City of Spartanburg City Hall and Spartanburg County Administrative Building
    (to include new joint use government center facilities to serve both the City of Spartanburg and Spartanburg County, and associated parking and infrastructure, in one or more structures)
  • Cost: $65,326,428

 

Priority #3:

  • Road and Bridge Projects
    (to include the then highest priority projects identified in the County’s Capital Improvement Plan after taking into account the availability of State and other funds)
  • Cost: $7,554,418

 

Total: $224,400,000

Now that the referendum has passed, when will the additional one cent sales tax begin, and when does it end?

The one cent sales tax will begin May 1, 2018 and end April 30, 2024. The sales tax cannot continue past April 30, 2024 unless reauthorized by the voters at another referendum.

Does the additional one cent sales tax apply to all sales?

No. The one cent sales tax would not apply to unprepared food (groceries), prescription medicines, gasoline purchases, certain maximum tax items such as automobiles, and sales of personal property otherwise exempt from State sales tax.

How much revenue is estimated to be generated by an additional one cent sales tax annually?

According to the South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs office, the additional one cent sales tax will generate approximately $37,421,097.00 per year. This estimate is prior to any adjustments made by the South Carolina Department of Revenue for administrative expenses.

How will revenue from the one cent sales tax be used?

State law requires that the one cent sales tax be used only for the projects listed on the ballot:

  • New Judicial Center
  • New Municipal Court/Police Building
  • New Emergency Operations Center
  • New Judicial Center parking garage
  • New City/County Government Center
  • New Government Center parking garage

Any remaining funds will be used for roads and bridges projects to include the then highest priority projects identified in the County’s Capital Improvement Plan after taking into account the availability of State and other funds.

Why do we need a New Judicial Center?

According to the May 2017 report by Justice Planning Associates, Inc:

  • The Spartanburg County Judicial Center, which opened in 1958, is overcrowded and does not meet modern standards with respect to security or technology.
  • The building is unable to provide separate and secure zones for the public, prisoners, judges, jurors, and court staff. This creates a safety issue, as well as potentially compromises the integrity of the judicial process.
  • The building opened in 1958 with 3 courtrooms, and over time, that number has grown to 14 courtrooms. The added courtrooms are located in converted office space, with inadequate room dimensions and low ceiling heights.
  • The majority of problems cannot be fixed within the existing facility, regardless of the amount of money spent.
  • Other specific issues:
    • Overcrowded public and staff spaces
    • Most Courtrooms do not meet recommended standards
    • Inaccessible spaces for some members of the public, including witness stands, jury boxes, and jury deliberation room toilets
    • Lack of conferencing and victim waiting spaces near courtrooms
    • Prisoner detention spaces do not meet modern detention standards
    • Inadequate heating, ventilation, air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical systems
  • The buildings around the existing Judicial Center are also inadequate and cannot continue to support justice system functions. These buildings exhibit similarly poor spatial, operational, and physical conditions as the Judicial Center.
  • It has been recommended that the new Judicial Center remain on the existing site, and that any functions which support that building, or have a direct relationship, also be located on that site.
  • The building has experienced water intrusion problems in the past which the County has attempted to correct, but which are likely to continue to occur due to the building’s age and construction.

Why do we need a new City/County Government Complex?

The existing City Hall and the County Administration Building, both constructed in the early 1960s, are more than 50 years old. Both facilities were built prior to modern codes and standards. Both facilities have physical issues that impact operating requirements. Those issues include: inappropriate accessibility for mobility-impaired persons; insufficient power and data supply for modern technology; and inadequate heating, ventilation, and cooling.

  • The County Administration Building is a former Sears Department store, which was adapted for governmental use. Although the building has served its purpose for approximately 30 years, there are issues with respect to public service, security, and availability of natural light. The building is experiencing structural problems to include water leaks and adequate ventilation. The most overcrowded spaces are those with the highest volume of public contact, such as the Assessor, Auditor, and Treasurer. The crowded conditions can result in extended wait times and loss of confidentiality.
  • Nearly all components in the City Hall are suffering from some degree of overcrowding, with the Police Department and Municipal Court in particularly inadequate space. Due to differences in the nature of operations, functions such as the Police Department, Fire Department, and Municipal Court are not typically co-located with general governmental administrative functions, such as the City Council, Mayor, and Finance.

Why combine City and County Government facilities?

  • PUBLIC SERVICE: A City/County government center will improve public convenience and enhance wayfinding for citizens. The public cannot always differentiate between County and City government services. Residents sometimes appear at the wrong building, resulting in confusion and frustration. A shared location would provide a single visible source of government for the public. However, some non-administrative services will continue to be satellited in other buildings, such as the Development Services Building and the Community Services Building, both as a way to provide efficient delivery of services to their particular customers, and as a cost-saving measure with respect to the new government center.
  • SHARED OPERATIONS: A co-located government center presents opportunities to share resources, such as public lobbies, training rooms, conference facilities, health clinics, IT server rooms, storage rooms, fire stairs, mechanical/electrical spaces, public and staff toilets, snack bars, breakrooms, and other areas. Collocation can also facilitate communication and coordination among the various government functions.
  • SHARED COST: According to Justice Planning Associates Inc, a City/County government center would be less expensive to construct than two separate facilities, and would be less costly to operate and maintain, securely and efficiently.