Search Results for: penny tax

Broad River Widening – update from Richland County Penny Tax

Like you, I’ve been wondering what the county has been doing for us with the Penny Tax revenue that passed years ago (our area being one of the few that voted against the tax ). Outside of a roundabout on Kennerly Road near Riversprings Elementary, that’s about all I see – from the county.

I did some searching on my website and can’t believe it’s been NINE YEARS since the county passed that tax!

After seeing all the work ramping up at the state level from DOT , I decided to check locally today with the county to see what they were doing for us. Glad I did, apparently “things have changed”. I learned a word I haven’t heard before. I was told the project has been “descoped” and that those changes were approved by Richland County Council.

Appears cost overuns is a primary reason for the change from an article from last year that sheds some light.

In any event, here was the update I saw this afternoon before calling to speak with Michael Niermeier, Director, Department of Transportation with Richland County Government.

A description of the “descope” is below and also can be seen by clicking here.

So, bottom line, it looks like we are 2-3 years away from the county using the Penny Tax to start construction on this improvement.

Not the news I wanted to hear today. I was told the county would come out here once the “descope” has been finalized so that we can see what they have proposed. I was told there isn’t enough money to do the “5 lane project” that we were originally sold. (I see what it’s hard to trust government anymore)


Original Project Scope
The project scope for the Broad River Road Widening Project was to widen the roadway to 5
lanes between Royal Tower Drive and Dutch Fork Road in the Irmo community. In addition, the
road was to be widened to 3 lanes between Dutch Fork Road and I-26 (Exit 97).
(2) 4-foot wide bike lanes and (2) 5-foot wide sidewalks are included in the project scope.
Revised Project Scope – Based on traffic volumes, public input, and funding, the PDT recommended to
only include the widening from North Royal Tower to Dutch Fork.
Referendum Funding – $29,000,000.00 Current Cost Estimate: $39,663,756.37

Traffic Analysis and Results

The traffic study evaluated 15 intersections along the length of this project along with the
intersections of the off\on ramps of I-26. SCDOT plans to widen I-26 in this area, so the off\on
ramps would be addressed with their project.

The 2043 Level of Service in this corridor has been identified as “Adequate” for the proposed
improvements while the 2043 “No- Build” evaluation showed that the majority of the
intersections would operate at a “F” Level of Service. The recommended proposed
improvements from the traffic study are to improve the intersections by increasing turning bays.

Crash Data between 1/1/13 and 12/31/15 (3 years) shows that there were 161 crashes near these
15 intersections with the majority being rear-end collisions.
1 fatality

Public Input Results
185 residents attended the December 15, 2016, Public Meeting

The design alternative supported by the most residents was a 5 lane travel way that included 2 4-
foot wide bike lanes and 2 5-foot wide sidewalks

Residents agreed that removing the 3 lane section between Dutch Fork Road and I-26 was


ROW Obtained To Date – 0 Expended To Date – $0

Possible Design Modifications to Lower Cost

Widen the road to 3 lanes (2 driving lanes and a median) and also provide turning lanes at the
intersections that are missing them at this time. This could improve turning movements in and
out of the many businesses in the corridor and decrease the number of rear-end collisions.
New Approx. Estimate: $30M (Approx. Savings $9.6M)

Note: This option would not improve capacity but would improve safety and would improve
flow since left-turning vehicles would be able to pull into the median instead of block the
flow of traffic.

The cost estimate includes approximately $1,150,000 to relocate a 54” waterline at SCDOT’s
request. Staff is currently working with SCDOT to possibly have this requirement removed.

“Penny Tax” Info Meeting – March 7th at Ballentine Park


Email from Ballentine-Dutch Fork Civic Association


Please be sure to invite all your friends, neighbors and other contacts in this area to this important meeting. Get the facts from the “horse’s mouth” as they say.

Tom Callan, the President of the Ballentine Civic Association, contacted Ms. Betty Gregory, Community Involvement Coordinator of the Penny Tax program, who enjoyed learning about Ballentine’s interest in the Richland Penny projects, particularly the road widening that will positively impact our community.

Our completed Richland Penny Speaker Request Form has been officially submitted for a Richland Penny Update and Overview Program to the Ballentine Civic Association, Monday, March 7, 2016 with arrival by 6:15 pm and ending time 7 pm at the Ballentine Community Center, 1009 State Rd S-40-286, Irmo, South Carolina.

Mr. David Beaty, Richland Penny’s Program Manager, and Mr. Clem Watson, Richland Penny’s Construction Engineering Manager, will be the presenters for a 15-20 minute update with Q and A. For our information, their bios are attached.

In addition, staff will be present from their public involvement team to assist in any way. They will bring the Yearly Report as Tom requested for hand-outs.

They appreciated the invitation. They welcome the opportunity to inform, educate and engage the citizens in the Ballentine community and look forward to being with us March 7.

Richland County: Penny Tax Meeting, September 17th

From “The State/Dawn Hinshaw”

Richland County has scheduled the first round of community meetings to explain details of a proposed penny sales tax for transportation.

The increase, to 8-cents on the dollar on most purchases, would raise $1 billion over 22 years to improve roads; bus service; and expand bike lanes, sidewalks and greenways.

The sessions, announced Tuesday, are:

• Monday: 9/ 10 Adult Activity Center, 7494 Parklane Road
• Sept. 13: Eastover Park, 1031 Main St.
• Sept. 17: Friarsgate Park, 1712 Chadford Road
• Sept. 19: Richland County Public Library, 1431 Assembly St., Columbia
• Sept. 20: Blythewood Park, 126 Boney Road
• Sept. 24: Bluff Road Park, 148 Carswell Road

All presentations will begin at 6 p.m.

County spokeswoman Stephany Snowden said staff will give presentations as well as hand out project lists and maps.

Members of the anti-tax group Not a Penny More will attend some of the sessions “so we can at least ask appropriate questions,” spokesman Michael Letts said.

Richland County staff members are available to provide educational information to community associations, neighborhood organizations and other civic groups. See the county website at, e-mail or call (803) 576-2050.

State of “The Penny” (Richland Transportation Tax)

In April 2013, Richland County Council appointed the Transportation Penny Advisory Committee (TPAC). The function of the TPAC is to review, comment, on, and provide recommendations to Richland County Council regarding the Council’s use of the one-cent additional sales tax that voters approved in the November 2012 referendum.The TPAC is composed of 15 Richland County citizens representing Arcadia Lakes, Blythewood, Columbia, Eastover, Forest Acres, Irmo, and unincorporated areas of Richland County.TPAC members are volunteers who serve without compensation. Their terms of service range from three to five years. The TPAC meets on the third Monday of most months at 5:00pm in the fourth floor conference room of the Richland County Administrative Offices at 2020 Hampton Street. TPAC meetings are open to the public.

To learn more, visit Transportation Committee Advisory Committee information

Lexington County sales tax to aid Irmo?

While Richland County residents in the Irmo/Chapin area were basically left “high and dry” with lack of “their share” of projects on the Richland County “Penny Tax” Referendum (and even earlier on the Richland County Recreation Bond Referendum), it looks like Irmo town leaders may be trying to avoid a shut out from Lexington County too.

From The State

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC — Irmo leaders may change their minds and submit projects that could get aid from a proposed penny-on-the-dollar sales tax in Lexington County.

The new look comes after county leaders suggested that abstention is shortsighted.

Town leaders are developing a package of drainage and road intersection improvements for inclusion in the plan that would go to voters countywide for approval Nov. 4.

Irmo is the only one of the county’s 15 communities refusing to recommend projects for the tax plan.

Its omission would raise questions on whether the northeast corner of the county would benefit much from the tax, County Councilman Johnny Jeffcoat of Irmo said.

Irmo’s holdout is practical and political, town leaders said.

Projects first suggested like a new public works building and sidewalks are minor steps that wouldn’t qualify for the plan, Mayor Hardy King said.“What we had was not major but things we can do on our own,” he said.

A new set of improvements in drainage along with widening and adding signals at two intersections are a better fit, he said.

Read more from The State by clicking here

More on the Transportation Penny

Next month Richland County voters will decide on a “local-option sales tax” increase to be used for transportation items throughout the county (Roadway/Bus Service/Bike/Pedestrian/Greenway).

I’ve attended a local forum in our community and heard presentations to the Irmo Chamber Board of Directors, as well as to the Richland County House and Senate delegations.

There is plenty of information out there for you to make an informed decision before you head to the polls next month. With more than $1 billion on the ballot for up to 22 years, it’s important you read the issue and form your opinion before you “just press a button” at the polls.

While there are many “yes” websites, I could not find a “no” website to share. (If a reader knows of one, please feel free to post the link in the comment section)

Richland County website
Citizens for a Greater Midlands
Say Yes 2 The Penny

Voters may recall the referendum narrowly failed to receive approval two years ago.

Here are the 2010 results from the 14 Richland County precincts that make up our community:

Ballentine…………989 No…..435 Yes…..69.45% No
Dutch Fork #1…..707 No…..370 Yes…..65.65% No
Dutch Fork #2…..886 No…..564 Yes…..61.10% No
Friarsgate #1……534 No…..375 Yes…..58.75% No
Friarsgate #2……449 No…..292 Yes…..60.59% No
Harbison #1…….457 Yes…..399 No…..53.39% Yes
Harbison #2…….284 Yes…..277 No…..50.62% Yes
Oak Pointe……….822 No…..593 Yes…..58.13% No
Old Friarsgate…..386 No…..252 Yes…..60.50% No
Parkridge…………144 No…..137 Yes…..51.25% No
River Springs…..1065 No…..657 Yes…..61.85% No
Riverwalk………….721 No…..617 Yes…..53.89% No
Spring Hill…………503 No…..160 Yes…..75.87% No
Springville………..1241 No…..525 Yes…..70.27% No

Property Tax Relief Could Bring Homeowners Refund Checks

WSPA Channel 7 News (CBS)

Most homeowners are getting in the mail some extra holiday cheer: property tax bills that show the effects of the statewide property tax relief plan passed by state lawmakers. They raised the sales tax by a penny, using that to eliminate school operating expenses from homeowners’ property taxes.

The amount of the relief varies based on the value of the home, the county and the school district. Some homeowners will get no relief, while others may see their bills reduced by as much as 60 percent.

So you’ve received your tax bill and can see you paid too much into escrow for taxes. How do you get that money back?

Mortgage banker Nathan Ballentine says your mortgage company should contact you this month, or in January at the latest, to notify you of the overage.

“You’re going to have two choices, generally. You can either go ahead and get the lump sum in the form of a check, or you can have it applied to your mortgage balance,” he says. He says your monthly mortgage payments should also go down next year, since less will be needed set aside for property taxes.

Besides being a mortgage banker, Ballentine is also a state representative representing Irmo. “Quite honestly, when I ran for office three years ago, this was the main issue I heard, was property tax and a principle of ‘Do you really ever own your house?’ So I was pleased to be able to work with my colleagues to get this passed,” he says.

If you haven’t heard from your mortgage company by the middle of January, he says you should contact the company.

Richland County: It’s happening…again

2016 GOP primary

Everyone makes mistakes. But it seems Richland County is getting “real good” at making “mistakes” lately: the county Penny Tax county Recreation …. county elections .

Thanks to my neighbor, who first brought this to my attention April 29th when he walked over and showed me the letter you see above, I learned 203 voters in our community received this letter…by mistake.

The letter begins:

“You requested an absentee ballot for the REPUBLICAN Primary on June 14th, 2016, but there will be no REPUBLICAN primary for any of the offices you are eligible to vote….Therefore, you will NOT be receiving a REPUBLICAN ballot for June 14, 2016.

Not sure how the county didn’t know there was a Republican race out here. It’s the only Republican race in the entire county so it should stand out. I would hope they wouldn’t “forget about us” about here – but looks like they did.

The State wrote about it this week and I’ve copied some of the article below.


More than 200 voters in Richland County mistakenly were told by the beleaguered county elections office that they could not vote absentee in the June Republican primary for state House District 71.

Thousands of voters across the county requested absentee ballots for the June 14 primary. Most of them correctly received letters from the Richland County Voter Registration and Elections office telling them there is no Republican primary for them to vote in, elections director Samuel Selph said.

But 203 voters in House District 71, who are eligible to vote in the county’s sole Republican primary, received those letters by mistake, Selph said.

“We were just trying to be proactive” by informing voters when there were no primaries in their districts, Selph said. “We made a mistake and sent it to some people in District 71, and we corrected that. … You don’t like for these things to happen, naturally.”

Read more here

The county has since mailed those 203 voters a corrected letter (see below) and it’s my hope that all voters will receive their absentee ballots and that come June 14th, every vote will count and the county will have the legal number of (working) machines at every precint.

2016 GOP correction

Intersection Improvements on the way?


A few years ago, when Richland County passed the “Penny Tax” ( don’t get me started again on all that), I was hopeful we would soon see improvements in our area. Frankly, there wasn’t much in our area in that “Penny Tax” proposal; but this one intersection was at least supposed to be addressed.

Here is the lastest update for that Kennerly Road/Coogler Road intersection.

Representative Ballentine – I am writing to provide an update on the status of this Richland County Penny Project being administered by ICA Engineering. Per my discussion with Richland County Transportation Director Rob Perry, the scope of the project is to install a roundabout at this intersection They awarded the contract on November 1st with an 18-month window for completion of all intersections. Due to the complexity of the intersection, late summer 2016 is the earliest anticipated start date, however it may be as late as Fall 2016.

For more information, you may contact Project Manager Jennifer Bragg at (803) 726-6146 or Richland County Transportation Director Rob Perry at (803) 576-1526.

Please let me know if I may be of further assistance with this or any other transportation related issue.

Bryan L. Jones, P.E.
District Engineering Administrator
SCDOT – District One



Community Update


The 2nd regular session of the 121st SC General Assembly will convene on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at noon. You can keep up with what’s going on in Columbia by visiting Nathan’s News often or going to the Statehouse website for lots of information on members, voting, legislation, committees, and every meeting that’s scheduled during the year!

I’m hopeful this year my colleagues will ultimately pass legislation that will improve our state infrastructure needs as well as improve our educational issues in our state. While we have one of the state’s top school districts in the state; others are not as fortunate. Closer to home, I look forward to support from members throughout the state to address concerns raised by the recent flood.

For a look at this year’s prefilled bills, you can go here. These bills will have to be on the “fast track” if they hope to become law before we adjourn in June. To see just how many bills have become law in recent years, you can read this previous post I wrote in 2013.


It seems like the nightmare never ends for Richland County. Just recently we’ve seen more issues from the “Penny Tax” and I expect more issues are yet to come. I have kept an eye on this issue from the start and made improvement that we can from the General Assembly. Unfortunately, most of the changes needed must come from the county level. Just not sure what we can expect; although this looks like a good start .

In other news, state officials have provided estimates of an additional BILLION dollars for the SC General Assembly to appropriate this year in our budget. The state portion of our budget is in excess of 8 BILLION (and we have 2 other parts that fund the entire budget as well: Federal Funds and “Other funds”). It’s great to see our economy growing (fyi, unemployment is 5.5% which is a level our state has not seen since 2011) and that our state has lived within our means. While a BILLION dollars is a lot of money, you need to know that our state’s colleges and universities have requested ALL OF IT for their use and the total of all state agency new requests for the upcoming budget debate is TWICE that much.

I would love to hear from you where you would like to see any “new money” go. So you know, the BILLION dollars already has several million accounted for due to previous legislation we have passed (Property Tax Relief, Reserves, etc) and obviously we have growth in services associated to Medicaid. Still, there is a large portion we can use to improve our state. How would you prioritize it? Please let me know by contacting me through the website.


MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR: I want to continue to share members of our community with you that I hear about doing good things in our community. Be sure to give me details here about someone you think deserves recognition. Here’s an old post from the past that has several community members listed for various reasons.

OUR TOWN COUNCILs: Irmo’s town government has a four-year term and consists of a Council of five members . It meets the first and third Tuesday of every month in the Municipal Building, 7300 Woodrow St., Irmo, SC 29063. November’s elections placed two new members on the town’s council. The current council consists of Mayor Hardy King, Councilman Barry A. Walker, Sr., Mayor (Pro Tem) Julius Waites, Councilwoman Kathy Condom and Councilman Mark Pouliot. When you need to contact Chapin’s Mayor or Town Council, you can get that information here.

OUR CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE: You still have time to make plans for the first meetings of 2016! Irmo’s Chamber Luncheon is Wednesday, January 13th from 11:30-1pm at St. Andrews Presbyterian. That next Tuesday, January 19th from 5:30 to 7pm is Chapin’s Chamber Monthly Meeting at the Market Place of Chapin. If you haven’t visited their websites lately, you need to check them out: Irmo Chamber of Commerce ; Chapin Chamber of Commerce


CHAMPIONS…AGAIN: Another championship season for two Chapin teams. Their cheerleaders and their band both were crowned CHAMPIONS and will be recognized later this year by Representative Huggins and me. It’s always great to see District Five students recognized for their work on and off the field!

DUTCH FORK HIGH SCHOOL / FLOOD RELIEF: Dutch Fork High School students help rebuild home as part of flood relief project. Students at Dutch Fork High School helped give a local family a late holiday present as part of a project to rebuild a home damaged by last year’s flood. Members of the school’s Beta Club spent several hours rebuilding walls and lives as part of Project Rebuild. The project was part of a partnership with Home Works of America, St. Bernard Project, the United Way of the Midlands and several other local groups. “They can see the magnitude at which the community was affect. It’s a direct way to give back,” said Kelly Payne, Home Works site leader and Dutch Fork High School Beta Club advisor. “The students jumped right into the project, even the building tasks that were outside of their comfort zone…Giving back is a lesson that will be with them a lifetime.”

DISTRICT FIVE RECRUITMENT FAIR: Lexington-Richland School District Five will hold its 2016 Teacher Recruitment Fair on February 6, 2016 at Irmo Middle School, 6051 Westcott Road, Columbia, S.C. 29212 from 8:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Pre-registration is available through February 3. To register click here. To be considered for employment, all attendees must complete an on-line application at before attending the recruitment event. Early Contracts for critical areas, such as Math, Science, Special Education and World Language may be issued.

DISTRICT FIVE SCHOOL BOARD TO BE RECOGNIZED IN JANUARY: Lexington-Richland School District Five will join school districts statewide in celebrating School Board Recognition Month in January. More than 600 elected and appointed school board members throughout South Carolina will be recognized by schools and communities for their service and dedication to public education. The theme of this year’s statewide celebration, “School Boards Stand Up 4 SC Public Schools,” reinforces the roles and responsibilities of school boards and the ownership they take for governing their local public schools. The District Five Board of Trustees is the district’s official policy-making entity, formulating policies to enhance educational opportunities in District Five by interpreting the needs and goals of the community. The men and women serving Lexington-Richland School District Five include: Robert Gantt (chairman), Ellen Baumgardner (vice chairman), Jondy Loveless (secretary), Larry Haltiwanger, Jan Hammond, Beth Hutchison, and Ed White. District Five will recognize board members during its Jan. 25 school board meeting. The event, which is open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. at Chapin Middle School.

For more District Five news, read the Weekly News and Highlights which can be found here .


Thanks again for the privilege you give me to represent the Irmo/Chapin/Ballentine/Dutch Fork community! If you have events or people you’d like me to share with our community right here through Nathan’s News, please let me know and I’ll do my best to help!

I’m always eager to spend time with you at your Homeowners Association Meetings, Churches, and other civic events in the community! Let me know dates and times and I’ll work to be there!

Nathan Ballentine
House of Representatives, District 71
Richland-Lexington Counties
320B Blatt Building
Columbia, SC 29201