UNION — An agreement between Union County and Lockhart Power Company will provide several benefits for both entities, as well as local residents.
This week Union County Council approved the third and final reading of the fee-in-lieu-of-taxes (FILOT) and incentive agreement with Lockhart Power Company.
The agreement is essentially a reduction in the amount of property taxes Lockhart Power will pay to the county for two new projects — a small hydro-electric facility and a new corporate office. The agreement will reduce the amount of taxes Lockhart Power will pay by around 43 percent, which is an incentive for the company to invest and create revenue — and ultimately, new jobs — without taxes being so expensive that new projects are unattractive to the company.
“This is absolutely an increase in revenue for the county, and in addition, it helps stabilize and support existing industry in the county,” said Union County Supervisor Tommy Sinclair, who pointed out that without the FILOT and incentive agreement, none of this new revenue would be coming in.
“The county is still receiving substantial new revenue from these property taxes without having to incur any new, noticeable expense on their part,” added Lockhart Power COO Bryan Stone. “There is no additional burden for the county, so this is really found money.”
Stone also explained that the agreement for the projects are very important for both Lockhart Power and its customers, who will now have lower rates than they otherwise would have had.
“Normally, this type of incentive goes to a company’s shareholders,” Stone said. “In our case, the benefit will actually go to our customers.”
Sinclair said Lockhart Power has been good neighbors to its surrounding areas, and the county wants to return the favor. He illustrated this by offering the example that Lockhart Power has already invested several hundred thousand dollars in the county’s infrastructure through Utility Tax Credit (UTC). UTC allows utility companies to get state tax credit when they invest in community infrastructure. Sinclair said Lockhart Power’s recent contributions will be used on the Hwy. 18 Project Center.
“Overall, this is a win-win for Union County’s tax payers and Lockhart Power’s customers,” Stone said. “We appreciate cooperation from Union County to make this happen.”
Staff Writer Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 29, or by email at email@example.com.