Letter to the editor: Paving equipment should be placed on penny sales tax list


It was heartbreaking to watch the Sumter County Council meeting on April 9, 2024. The big topic of the meeting was paving roads in the county. I do not know how the county's chairman and the city's mayor sleep at night after hearing Sumter citizens voice their concerns.

The City of Sumter will spend $15 million to renovate the Opera House, the county will spend $5 million to renovate Patriot Hall. We also can include over a million dollars for Riley Ball Park and plans to spend $2 million for an amphitheater at Patriot Park. We should include Sumter School District paying over a million dollars for property along with lease payments for the site on Broad Street for a technical high school.

The board decided on April 15 to give the land away. The county spent over $700,000 to purchase the McDuffie building downtown and will use the penny sales tax to renovate the building, thus increasing surrounding property value of private businesses. I am all for growth in Sumter, but it has to be balanced with the needs of all citizens.

Yet the mayor and chair of county council would tell the citizens of Sumter there is no money to pave public roads. There are dirt roads both in the city and county. I would ask that the county council consider placing paving equipment on the penny sales tax list of projects. And do a cost analysis of staffing a paving crew that would pave roads in each district as needed, especially where emergency services can get to Sumter residents.

Two years ago I asked the mayor and county chair in my letter to the editor to ensure all votes were counted in the 2022 election. I am deeply concerned that in the county primary election, there are candidates that do not physically live in the district they are running in and do not meet the residency requirements. Also that the seats up for school board have not been announced.

Lastly, I hope next year's city's prayer breakfast will be held at a neutral location so all citizens will feel comfortable and the program will include all religious leaders.

#A United Sumter, God bless the USA.