Estimates for a new county courthouse are in and are higher than anticipated.
Officials said that leaves little room in a November bond referendum for additional projects, including an Indian Land Service Center.
The Lancaster County Council met with members of the capital projects sales tax commission Monday night. Such a commission is required by state law to detail capital projects, and their priority order, that would be funded by a one-cent sales tax hike if approved by voters.
Last week, the council approved going to the voters with a capital projects sales tax referendum.
Commission members agreed that building a new courthouse is the county's most important capital project. Based on new estimates, the committee members said a new courthouse will cost about $33 million for a 101,000 square-foot facility and 5,000 square foot parking deck. That's more than $8 million higher than an estimate given by County Administrator Steve Willis in April.
Willis said his estimate was a "guesstimate" based on the cost of a courthouse built in 2002, with some money added for inflation.
The courthouse proposed by the commission would not include space for a magistrate's office or the sheriff's department.
The capital project sales tax is estimated to generate $40 million, said commission member Charlie Harrell.
Only two additional capital projects were suggested by the commission. In addition to funding the construction of the courthouse, the commission recommended asking the voters for $200,000 for the Del Webb Library at Indian Land and $400,000 for improvements to the Kershaw Industrial Park.
"We were very conservative with the number and I feel confident the bonds will be paid out before seven years," Joe Ramsey, a commission member, said.
Councilman Bryan Vaughn, who represents Indian Land, said he supports the county's need for a new courthouse but isn't sure the additional two projects should be part of the referendum. They seem minor in comparison to the main project, he said.
"I do see some danger in the projects being added in," Vaughn said. "It could be viewed as pork for Indian Land and pork for Kershaw."
The high price tag on the courthouse was also a concern for Vaughn, who suggested scaling back the courthouse and being more conservative to help get the referendum passed.
Council Chairman Rudy Carter said that forums need to be held in all parts of the county, explaining the referendum, and its importance, to the voters.
"I think its going to be a hard sell. We know that," Carter said.