LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - An organization that serves as the voice for numerous Lexington businesses has thrown its support behind the town's stance on a controversial issue.
In a letter, Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce told town of Lexington officials that they support a hospitality tax proposal that would fund traffic and road improvements.
The two percent tax on food and drink would fund three projects outlined in the Town of Lexington's Vision Plan to facilitate better traffic flow. The proposal passed the first reading by a 6-1 vote this month.
Chamber officials are in full support of the plan because they are concerned about the increasing volume of traffic affecting the flow of goods, services and overall development in the town. With no possibility of funding from the federal or state level, officials believe the hospitality tax is the best option.
"There's no money, I mean you know what's going on at the state level, you know what's going on at the federal level, so there's really no hope for any money coming anytime soon," said Randy Halfacre, the President and CEO of the Greater Lexington Chamber. "So, are we going to continue to just let the traffic build here? And let it adversely affect the businesses here?"
Those who oppose the tax believe the process has been rushed and not enough effort has been made to look at possible alternatives. They also are worried that the tax might be a burden for residents.
"I'd like to see members of the federal government weigh in on it because these are federal highways and we need to get their opinion as well," Lexington Town Council Member Ted Stambolitis said. "But more importantly, the South Carolina Department of Transportation needs to give us their opinion on the proposals that are being brought to the table and if there's better proposals."
Residents were able to ask questions at a public information session Monday night. The final reading and information session are scheduled for September 8th.
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