With the start of the new year, The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette today will preview some of the biggest local issues expected to impact the lives of residents, workers, business owners and tourists in Beaufort County and surrounding areas. Following is one of 17 issues to watch in 2017:
Beaufort County voters in November said “no” to bond and sales-tax referendums to pay for new schools and other projects, but that doesn’t mean they won’t get done.
Going into 2017, the Beaufort County Board of Education has at least four financing options:
▪ Deferring maintenance and reprioritizing projects.
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▪ Putting a $217 million bond referendum before voters in the spring to fund a 10-year plan.
▪ Trimming that referendum to $124.5 million to fund a five-year plan.
▪ Asking voters to approve both the $124.5 million bond referendum in the spring and a 1-percent sales tax referendum in November 2018 to fund the remaining five years of proposed projects and any additional items that could arise before then.
The school board has not weighed its options since the November general election. Those discussions will begin in 2017, and with the input of two newly-elected board members — Okatie’s Patricia Felton-Montgomery and Bluffton’s Christina Gwozdz.