By Stan Welch
Economic development projects dominated the agenda at Tuesday night’s County Council meeting, as the Council advanced or approved a series of economic incentives for seven different projects.
Final approval was given to a fee in lieu of taxes (FILOT) arrangement with an existing company in Anderson. Mergon Corporation is a company that provides solutions and products to the automotive industry. A joint industrial park was also expanded to include the Mergon facility, as well as to allow inclusion of a project in Greenville county, code named Reno.
Mergon has been located in Anderson County for fifteen years and is investing $4.4 million in an expansion that will not only retain the existing jobs, but create twenty two more jobs. The expansion was announced by county and state economic development officials late last week.
The company is headquartered in Ireland, with facilities in Europe and the United States.
The Council also gave first reading approval to a proposed retooling of an existing FILOT with Plastic Omnium Auto Exteriors, LLC to reflect that company’s second expansion of their existing facility. That arrangement will require two more votes to approve, following a public hearing on the proposal.
Also in the legislative queue for consideration for incentives are four other projects, none of which have been identified by name so far. It is common practice to code name projects for the early part of the courtship between business and government, in order to reduce competition with other counties or states.
Projects Opportunity, Courtney, Rack, and Gamma were the subjects of resolutions authorizing the offer of incentives by the County. Those resolutions will allow the preparation of ordinances detailing the nature of the incentives to be offered. Those ordinances will then go through three readings and a public hearing before final approval.
Burriss Nelson, head of the County’s economic development efforts, declined to identify any of the companies by name; nor would he indicate which of the projects is slated to locate in The Journal’s readership area. He did confirm, however, that at least one of the projects will be located in this area.
He also clarified that the possible choice of the Lee Steam plant for upgrading to a natural gas turbine facility is likely at least six months away and will not be handled in the same manner, since Duke Energy is a utility and not a private company.
That possible upgrade, first reported in The Journal last week, would involve a half billion dollar capital investment and employ as many as five hundred people during the peak of construction.