Industry Plans $75M Expansion in Darlington County

by Jim Faile

A Darlington County industry plans to invest at least $75 million over five years to expand its manufacturing operations in the county.

The investment will include the acquisition of land, a building, improvements to land and building, construction and primarily acquisitions of equipment and machinery, according to a proposed ordinance presented to the Darlington County Council for first reading during Monday’s regular council meeting.

The ordinance states the acquisitions and improvements are estimated to cost at least $75 million over five years. No new jobs are associated with the project, according to supporting information from the county. But the project is “critical to the company’s continuing presence in Darlington County,” the supporting information states.

County officials have not identified the company. The measure, which will provide for a fee-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement between the county and the industry, identifies the company only as “Project Heat Wave.”

A proposed fee agreement between the county and the company will provide for a fee to be paid by the company to the county in lieu of property taxes at an annual assessment rate of 6 percent for a term of 30 years as well as the issuance of a special source revenue credit equal to $25,000 a year for the company for the first 10 years.

The ordinance states that the project and the fee in lieu of taxes will benefit the county.

“The Project is anticipated to benefit the general public welfare of the County by providing services, employment, recreation or other public benefits not otherwise adequately provided locally,” the measure states.

“The purposes to be accomplished by the Project, i.e., economic development, creation of jobs, and addition to the tax base of the County, are proper governmental and public purposes,” the ordinance continues.

“The inducement of the location or expansion of the Project within the County and State is of paramount importance,” the ordinance states, adding that the benefits of the project to the county will exceed the costs.

No vote is taken on an ordinance when it is presented for the first reading. A preliminary vote will come when the measure is presented for second reading. Typically, a public hearing on the measure will precede the second reading. A final vote will follow on the third reading.

Darlington County Economic Development Partnership Director Frank Willis said an official announcement about the expansion could come in July after final approval of the ordinance.

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