County approves solar industry inducement

By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer,

Darlington County Council convened a meeting September 21 and held public hearings and final readings for four ordinances, and one second reading for an inducement to help bring a new industry to our area.

Ordinance 15-28 authorizes a fee-in-lieu-of taxes (FILOT) agreement between the county and a company currently known as Project Beacon IX. This industry could potentially invest $10 million to locate a facility in Darlington County.

The ordinance extract noted that “many solar projects are looking at South Carolina” and “conversion of agricultural property to solar property can produce significant increase in property tax revenue.”

The property for this proposed industry is currently generating $246 per year in tax revenue; if this project comes to fruition, property tax revenues could top $450,000 over the first five years, “representing a huge increase for the county with little required in the way of additional county services.”

Third and final reading for this ordinance should occur on October 5 at council’s next regular meeting.

The four ordinances up for final readings included:

Ordinance 15-24, adjusting the fee schedule for small private and commercial companies for disposal of construction materials. Loads under 5 tons would be $38.50 per ton, 5 to 10 ton loads would be $200 per load, and loads over 10 tons would be $500 per load.

Ordinance 15-25 approves the receipt of $21,153 in unclaimed state lottery prize money for the Darlington County Library System.

Ordinance 15-26 establishes minimum standards and vehicle operations standards for the Darlington County Airport.

Ordinance 15-27 approves a supplemental appropriation of $27,501.25 to cover the county’s share of a $550,025 airport improvement project to fix the runway lights.

Council approved all these ordinances without objection.

Two other items received unanimous approval: the purchase of 12 radios for the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit for $17,820; receipt of a $20,000 Green Insfrastructure grant award from SC Forestry Commission, with no local funding match required.

Darlington County Council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 pm, Oct. 5, at the Courthouse Annex located at 1625 Harry Byrd Hwy in Darlington.

Author: Duane Childers

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