County extends ESAB agreement

By: By Charles Warner - [email protected]

UNION COUNTY — A lease agreement that was among the incentives that helped bring ESAB Welding and Cutting Products to Union County has been extended for another year.

At its February meeting Tuesday evening, Union County Council voted unanimously to approve an amendment to the lease agreement between the county and ESAB.

The amendment states that the county and ESAB initially entered into a lease agreement on May 20, 2011 “pertaining to land located at Midway Green Industrial Park” in the Union area. It states that agreement was amended on May 20, 2016, extending the original lease another 17 months, meaning it would expire on Oct. 20, 2017. It further states that both the county and ESAB have agreed that the agreement should be amended, extending it for another 12 months which is what the second amendment does, extending the agreement to Oct. 20, 2018. The amendment further states that ESAB may get the agreement extended for an additional 12 months by requesting it of the county in writing by Sept. 20, 2018. With such an extension the lease agreement would remain in effect until Oct. 20, 2019.

The property being leased by ESAB is the former Milliken Midway plant owned by the county. The building houses ESAB’s manufacturing facility.

The lease agreement was part of a cooperative effort of Union County, the City of Union, the Union County Development Board, and the SC Department of Commerce to develop an incentive package to bring the ESAB Welding and Cutting Products manufacturing facility to Union County. The effort began in 2010 and culminated in 2011 with the formal opening of the facility.

For its part, the county, in addition to leasing the building to ESAB that houses its manufacturing facility, entered into a 30-year fee-in-lieu of taxes agreement with ESAB which allows the company to pay a reduced property tax rate of 6 percent a year rather than 10.5 percent; provide the company with a five-year Special Revenue Tax Credit; and entered into a multi-county agreement with Spartanburg County covering the ESAB facility.

The county also purchased the Midway site for $800,000 and was reimbursed half of that by the city. The city also reimbursed the county for half of the $100,000 infrastructure grant ESAB received from the county development fund.

ESAB, which was founded in Sweden more than a century ago by the inventor of the covered welding electrode, is a global producer of a wide array of welding and cutting applications employing more than 9,000 in 122 manufacturing facilities on four continents. The 260,000-square-foot Midway facility, which the company spent $19 million to renovate and equip, employs 101 people in the production of high performance MIG and sub-arc welding wire.

Clerk Of Court

In other business, Union County Clerk of Court Melanie Lawson addressed council about an upcoming vacancy in her office.

Lawson told council that Common Pleas Deputy Clerk Iris Whisnant is leaving after 18 years of service in the Clerk of Court’s Office on March 2.

With Whisnant’s departure, Lawson said the Common Pleas Deputy Clerk’s position will be left vacant. She said it is an important position in her office and she asked council for permission to hire a successor to step in when Whisnant leaves.

Council voted unanimously to authorize Lawson to fill the upcoming vacancy.

Kelly-Kelton Fire District

Council also voted unanimously Tuesday to advertise for applicants to fill a vacancy on the Kelly-Kelton Fire District Board.

The seat is coming open due to the resignation of board member Kindra Horne.

Recreation Department

Council also voted unanimously Tuesday to hire from within the Union County Recreation Department to fill the currently vacant position of Parks and Recreation Program Director. Once that position is filled, the county will advertise for applicants to fill the position which will be left vacant with the hiring of a new director for the Parks and Recreation Program.

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Clerk of Court authorized to fill vacancy

By Charles Warner

[email protected]

Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.

Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.