Jones also announced at the meeting he would support using a portion of the proceeds of a half-cent city sales tax and funds from a business and occupation tax on retail to pay for Civic Center renovations and unfunded liabilities in the police and firefighter pension plans.
Jones had originally proposed a half-cent city sales tax to pay for $35 million to $60 million in renovations to the aging Civic Center. He was also proposing a reduction of the B&O tax on retail as well as an elimination of the tax on manufacturing.
However, city leaders believe the new home rule bill prohibits the city from raising a tax on B&O once it has been lowered without first eliminating the municipal sales tax.
And although Charleston council members are shooting to pass the municipal sales tax under the old home rule program, one that does not require the city to eliminate its sales tax if it again raises B&O, Jones is unwilling to take the chance that the new bill will retroactively affect the city's move.
"We're under the old home rule program, but I don't want to roll the dice," he said.
Therefore, he has backed off his plan to reduce the B&O on retail and instead plans to use the estimated $2.25 million generated annually by the tax to help pay for the Civic Center renovations and pensions, Jones said.
"Our net revenue is going to be a lot more," he said. "And if we don't do the Civic Center now, we wouldn't ever get it done."
Jones is hoping to create a true convention center for the city to attract larger events and conventions to Charleston.
City Manager David Molgaard will be tasked with finding a firm to design the renovated Civic Center, which will then give council members a cost estimate for the project.
Molgaard hopes to have a firm hired within the next few months, he said.
Bills enacting the city's half-cent sales tax and eliminating the B&O on manufacturing were introduced at Monday's meeting.
Both bills must be read a second time before passage and both were referred to the city's Finance Committee.
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