Economic incentives benefit existing companies


By Stan Welch

The majority of the agenda at Tuesday night’s County Council meeting dealt with economic development, as Council discussed and approved a number of agreements with companies already located in Anderson, or considering coming here.

As an adjunct to all the economic news, the Council approved a resolution recognizing the Fiftieth Anniversary of Tri County Technical College, and its role in preparing its students for the economic opportunities that have grown in Anderson County and the Upstate in the decades since the school opened.

The school opened in 1963 with 919 students. Last year, it enrolled 6973 students, many pursuing degrees at what has become a full fledged community college.

One of the companies that located in Anderson thirty years ago is the Timken Company in Honea Path. The company has recently received several incentives to allow them to expand their facility here; incentives that received final approval Tuesday night.

Representatives of the company were on hand Tuesday night, leading Councilwoman Gracie Floyd to make an awkward and confusing plea that when people apply for jobs, they at least be given a return phone call telling them why they weren’t hired. “It is very depressing to apply for a job and never hear anything back from the people. So please, I’m asking you, at least call people and tell them that you just aren’t hiring or something,” said Floyd.

The Council approved several different incentives, both for specific projects, as well as in general. For example, one company was granted an extension of its fee in lieu of taxes (FILOT) agreement for an additional ten years, from twenty to thirty years. Floyd, a twelve year veteran of the council, was confused by the proposal, questioning why the companies would be granted such an extension.

At her insistence, economic development director Burriss Nelson explained that the General Assembly changed the law to allow for such an extension because the original FILOT agreements with several major companies were due to expire.

Floyd put Nelson through his paces throughout the evening, also demanding an explanation of why he sent her a cost benefit analysis related to the Palmetto Project (see details in a related story elsewhere in this issue of The Journal.) County administrator Rusty Burns explained that the document had been delivered to her at her house at her request.

“I know that Mr. Burns,” Floyd retorted. “I have it here. My question is what does it mean? This is not for the layman, and I can’t make sense of it.” Nelson responded that it was what she had asked for but apologized for sending it to her. She chided him and told him he would have to meet with her and explain it all.

Councilman Ken Waters, whose District Six has seen several openings and expansions in recent months, took that opportunity to thank Burriss and his department for their hard work, to which Floyd responded that she would be thanking him too if all those businesses had opened in her district.

The Council also granted an easement to allow for the construction of a welcome sign to Powdersville.