Hospitality tax passes first vote with council

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News 12 at 11 o'clock/April 27, 2015

Aiken, SC. (WRDW) -- Lots of discussion in Monday's Aiken city council meeting as person after person steps up to speak out about a possible one cent tax.

"I don't think council really heard what the people were saying, that this is an extra tax we don't need now," said Aiken resident James Wittig.

City council says the hospitality tax could be used for everything from new sewer and drainage systems, to a $500,000 parking deck for downtown Aiken.

Some neighbors want city council to pump the brakes.

"Let's slow down a little bit," Wittig said. "A 6-month wait is not going to cripple things."

Council member Dick Dewar fought hard at Monday's meeting to consider cutting other city expenses first.

But former city manager Roger LeDuc said the city has been working hard to keep spending under control.

City council members say the tax will help bring in new businesses, and that most of money made from the tax will come from people who don't even live in the city.

"If you let people tax and tax...they will find a way to spend it," said Howard Hillman who lives in Aiken.

That tax passed its first reading tonight with a vote of six to one. The second reading will be on May 11th.