FLORENCE, S.C. — A national lumber company will likely get Florence County tax incentives to build a new manufacturing facility near Johnsonville that is expected to bring $26 million and 80 new jobs to the local economy.
The tax incentive agreement unanimously passed its second of three readings at Thursday’s Florence County Council meeting. If it is approved on the third reading at a future meeting, Carter Lumber will have five years to invest the $26 million and create the 80 new jobs to receive the full incentive.
“The majority of the jobs will pay wages that equal or exceed the county average,” said Kevin Yokim, Florence County administrator.
“Project Veteran” is how the economic development agreement refers to the company, but Yokim confirmed Carter Lumber as the one referenced.
The 13.5 acre property will be incorporated into the Florence County And Williamsburg County Industrial Park and already has a building on it, which will be renovated into the new factory. It is at 305 W. Myrtle Beach Highway.
Instead of paying property taxes, the economic development agreement allows Carter Lumber to pay a fee that is less than the property tax would be. That fee is determined by a state provision and is further reduced by special source revenue credits.
Incorporating the property into the Florence County And Williamsburg County Industrial Park allows the special revenue credits to come out of the factory’s total tax bill, not just the county’s portion.
This week, the South Carolina Coordinating Council for Economic Development granted the county $100,000 to reimburse the company for infrastructure improvements, Yokim said.
“This is in lieu of additional county incentives that would have impacted our county budget,” he said.
The factory’s location in the industrial park will also make it eligible for a $1,000 job tax credit each year for five years, giving the company further incentives with no impact to the county’s budget.
The agreement lasts for 30 years, but every ten years the company gets less special revenue credits. After the 30 years, unless the agreement is extended, the company will start to pay normal property taxes.
If the full investments and jobs are not made after five years, the county will get back a percentage of the credits it gave the factory, Yokim said.
The company is considering other locations, the economic development agreement says. The agreement makes Florence County a more competitive location.
Florence County Council also unanimously adopted a resolution to increase the scope of a similar agreement with General Electric, which already invested the full $40 million and created more than the 100 new jobs required for the company to receive all its tax incentives under the previous economic development agreement.
The original agreement started in 2017, but General Electric now plans to invest an additional $23 million and create 135 new, full-time jobs before Dec. 31, 2027. The new agreement gives incentive for this growth with further tax credits.
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