UNION — The mayor of the City of Union now has the authority to negotiate lower utility rates to help attract new industry and promote the expansion of existing industry.
In a special meeting Tuesday morning, Union City Council voted unanimously to approve and second and final reading of an ordinance authorizing the mayor to negotiate utility rate agreements as an incentive to attract new industries to Union County and/or to facilitate the expansion of existing ones.
Both Union County and the S.C. Department of Commerce have in the past asked the city to assist them in developing incentive packages with which to offer industries considering locating or expanding in the county. The city’s contribution to these incentives packages usually take the form of an agreement to provide the industrial prospect locating outside its municipal limits with the utility rates offered customers within the city.
The ordinance authorizes the mayor to negotiate such an agreement for a certain period of time for an industry that invests $2.5 million in a new facility or the expansion of an existing one. The agreement would only remain in effect for the agreed upon period of time if the industry makes the required investment and creates the agreed upon number of jobs. If it does not, the agreement is null and void and the industry must pay the higher rates charged customers located outside the city.
While the city benefits indirectly from the investment and job creation outside its municipal boundaries, it benefits directly from getting a new high-volume utility customer.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.