MARION, SC (WBTW) – A capital sales tax referendum is continuing in Marion County after voters approved it on Election Day. 
Sixty percent of voters voted in favor of the penny tax. The money will fund up to twelve projects during the next seven years. The total cost is $18 million. 

The projects include renovations to Marion City Hall, the Marion County Library, and the Marion County Airport. A handful of recreation centers, including the Green Street Sports Complex, will also receive a portion of the money for improvements. 
The largest sum of money, $6 million, is going toward improvements to emergency services. Marion County Sheriff Brian Wallace says the county’s current analog communication system is not compatible with the digital systems of first responder and law enforcement agencies in surrounding counties, which can jeopardize rescue and response efforts during emergencies and natural disasters. 

“Storms have seemed to become a norm. We’ve had several in the last five years back-to-back. And we just want to make sure our system’s updated and in time of emergency, we’re prepared and we’ve done all we can do to be prepared,” he said. 
About $5 million will be used for upgrades to the Marion County Law Enforcement Center. Sheriff Wallace says the project is broken up into two $2.5 million phases. He says the first phase will address overcrowding of inmates. He says they plan to add another housing unit onto the detention center, which currently has a capacity of 96 inmates. Sheriff Wallace tells News13 the extra unit could house an additional 32 inmates. He also says the facility hasn’t been upgraded in twenty years and needs some tidying up. 

“If you can imagine your computer that you had twenty years ago versus a computer that you would use today, we’re still operating on that computer from twenty years ago,” he said. “And we just needed this. The county needed it. We house inmates from the City of Mullins, the City of Marion, all municipalities within the county. We’re responsible for them. We want to keep them safe. We want to keep our employees safe and also keep the public safe.”
The second phase is an expansion of the law enforcement center. Sheriff Wallace says 911 dispatch, the sheriff’s office, and the magistrate’s office all operate out of that building. He says they’re hoping to add more office space for employees. 

“There hadn’t been a lot of expansion or upgrades that’s been done in over twenty years. This project was very important to us. This project was one that needed to be done and had to be done in one way or another,” he said. 
Here is a full breakdown of the capital sales tax projects:

1.        E911 Improvements and Upgrades to all Emergency                               $6,000,000

2.        Phase I of Detention Center/Sheriff’s Office (Marion County                2,500,000

3.        Green Street Sports Complex (City of Marion)                                        1,536,025

4.        Marion City Hall Renovations (City of Marion)                                          463,975

5.        Park Street Gym Renovations (City of Mullins)                                          953,995

6.        Recreation Center Tennis Court Renovations (City of Mullins)                  437,500

7.        Marion County Library Headquarters Renovations (Marion County)      1,500,000

8.        Centennial Park Amphitheatre (Town of Nichols)                                       474,250

9.        Sellers Outdoor Wellness Center (Town of Sellers)                                     112,000

10.      Marion County Recreational Facilities Expansion (Marion County)           524,000

11.      Marion County Airport Expansion (Marion County)                                1,250,000

12.      Phase II of Detention Center/Sheriff’s Office (Marion County)              2,500,000