What is a bond?
A bond is a debt instrument that a government may issue to borrow for capital improvements and other projects. Issuing bonds is a way for the government to finance capital projects and pay for them over time. State and local governments use bonds to raise capital to finance public capital improvements and other projects. Assets can be acquired as needed by spreading the cost of the capital asset to those who benefit from it now and in the future.
The bonds are repaid with property tax revenues paid by Lancaster County business and residential property owners.
How much will it cost citizens annually?
The annual tax increase is $16.00 on a $100,000 home. The Clemson study boasts that 97% of people surveyed are willing to pay more taxes for improved recreation facilities.
What about hospitality tax?
The H-tax is paid by anyone, residents of Lancaster County or not, that purchases prepared food at a business. This includes restaurants, quick stops, Walmart, and other grocery store delis that are within Lancaster County’s boundaries. The current rate is 2%. The larger, more centralized recreation center that the H-tax money will fund is still planned. However, H-tax money has to be collected for three years before we can borrow money on the accumulation to construct the facility.
What about the money LCPR has already received for projects?
Lancaster County has been completing projects in the Kershaw area to include a playground, ball field fencing, field lights, irrigation for soccer fields, and new dugouts at baseball fields. These projects were paid for with PARD Grants and county matches along with a sale of property to the town of Kershaw.
Heath Springs has received new field lighting that was funded with PARD Grants and a county match.
The Springdale facility has added fencing and safety netting, paved a walking track, and built a new playground. These projects were funded by PARD grants, a county match, and The J. Marion Sims Foundation.
The Indian Land area has had an expansion of parking at the Walnut Creek facility, the addition of a 3.5-mile natural surface trail that is part of the Carolina Thread Trail, and the construction of a suspension bridge that links Lancaster County to the town of Waxhaw along the trail. Funding was provided by Lancaster County Recreation’s annual budget and grants from the Catawba Land Conservation.
Currently, the Buford Recreation Complex is undergoing major upgrades from H-tax funds. The first phase, in which $425,000 was budgeted, includes new field lighting at a cost of $299,986; new field fencing for a soccer area at a cost of $17,700; a new playground at a cost of $37,995; field irrigation at a cost of $33,500; and landscaping and beautification at a cost of $18,900. PARD monies of $6,700 have also been used for the playground. Other improvements in Buford last year included safety netting on all five baseball fields and fencing and dugouts on two fields. PARD money and county matching funds were also used on that project. Another $425,000 will be budgeted this coming year to complete the Buford project. This will come from H-tax funds. Paving the parking lot and outdoor restrooms will be included.
Other upgrades and projects have been completed to both the Springs Pool and the Kershaw Town Pool. Both projects included total reclamation of the pool surfaces; upgrades and improvements to bath houses and offices; and pump room upgrades for filtration. Lancaster County, along with the City of Lancaster and the Town of Kershaw, budgeted for these items.
Where do I vote?
For more information on where to vote, visit the precinct portion of the Lancaster County website.
Is the bond just about athletics?
No. The project scope includes upgrades to Barr Street Theater, an important site in Lancaster’s cultural history, and funding for the Lindsay Pettus Greenway, as well as recreation programs like camps, afterschool programs, social recreation, senior programs, exercise classes, party rentals for the public, and traditional indoor sports.
This bond is about quality of life, economic development, and helping to create communities that will attract people to live, work, and play in Lancaster County.
What are we getting for the money?
Estimates below; see detailed project list for more info
$4,221,624.00 for Indian Land Recreation Center renovations and expansion.
$4,991,848.00 for Harrisburg Road soccer complex.
$5,033,435.00 for Heath Springs soccer complex.
$2,500,000.00 for partial funding of the Lindsay Pettus Greenway.
$200,000 for Barr Street Theater improvements.
Why the enhancements in Heath Springs?
Heath Springs is in desperate need of rectangular fields for soccer, flag football, and other sports. Currently, teams play in the outfield of the baseball diamond. Youth soccer is the fastest growing sport in our county and the growth of the program in Heath Springs is exponential.
Why is Indian Land getting $9M for recreation?
Due to the explosive growth in the Panhandle, current facilities cannot house the population’s need. There are currently 160 children enrolled in afterschool and summer programs. Another 120 are on the waiting lists because LCPR cannot accommodate them all in the current space. Last season, they had 40 basketball teams that could only practice once per week using only half a court. Expansion of their current recreation center will help to ease the demand. A new, first-class soccer complex not only provides our local children with adequate playing fields, but also has the potential to bring in lease revenue from surrounding soccer clubs for tournament play.
How were the county’s needs assessed to determine what projects are funded through the bond?
The Recreation Commission determines needs for the Recreation Departments based on participation numbers, space available, and census numbers predicted.
There was also a Clemson Study performed in 2015 that revealed Lancaster was immensely underserved in the recreation category. The average statewide per capita spending for recreation is around $50. Lancaster’s per capita spending on recreation is $13.55. Our sister city, Rock Hill, spends $80 per capita on recreation. The study also revealed that taxpayers would be willing to pay more for improved recreation options. Nature trails and recreation fields for youth sports were among the top priorities of residents surveyed.
How is the bond amount calculated?
The bond will be open to public market (public offering) which will bring bids on an interest rate. The County has a finance team which includes our bond attorney and municipal advisor. They are responsible for the transaction and ensuring we follow state and securities laws.
We have secured cost estimates from developers and field architects to come up with the bond totals. Extra “padding” was added to the numbers to ensure coverage; however, each project will be out for bid and could possibly yield lower amounts than those proposed. The county will only bond out the actual amount necessary and the taxpayer will only pay debt service on the actual cost of construction.