UNION COUNTY — The economy, both nationwide and locally, is doing well with companies expanding operations and creating lots of jobs, so many in fact that they are having a hard time finding enough workers to fill them, and, to top it all off, “Project Paris” is planning on making a $12.5 million investment in Union County.
At its July meeting this past Tuesday, Union County Council voted unanimously to approve a resolution and second reading of an ordinance authorizing the county to enter into a fee-in-lieu-of taxes agreement with the entity currently known as Project Paris. Council also approved second reading of an ordinance authorizing the inclusion of Project Paris in a multi-county industrial park agreement between Union and Spartanburg counties.
Project Paris is the second code-named industrial development project council has been in the process of approving incentives for this year.
The first was for three months known only by the code name Project TRP until, at council’s June meeting Union County Supervisor Frank Hart revealed that it is the Timken Tyger River Plant which is undergoing a $2.5 million expansion. The expansion involves the acquisition of new equipment and machinery to increase capacity at the 350,000 square foot facility which is located at 408 Industrial Drive, Union.
During that meeting, council voted unanimously to approve third and final reading of the ordinance authorizing the fee-in-lieu-of taxes agreement between the county and Project TRP. At Tuesday’s meeting, council voted to approve third and final reading of an ordinance including the Tyger River expansion in a multi-county industrial park agreement between Union and Spartanburg counties.
The multi-county park agreements between Union and Spartanburg counties means they will share in the revenues and expenses of the parks. Inclusion in a multi-county industrial park enables the industry or company covered in the agreement to pay a user fee instead of ad valorem taxes. Multi-county park and fee-in-lieu-of taxes agreements are used by counties as incentives to encourage companies and industries to locate and/or expand operations in those counties.
Which is Project Paris, a new industry or the expansion of an existing one? Furthermore, what is the real name of the company now known only by that code name?
The answer to those questions will in all likelihood have to wait until third and final readings of the fee-in-lieu-of taxes and multi-county park agreements are approved by council in August.
While the resolution and the ordinances do not provide the name of the company involved and do not say whether it is a new industry or the expansion of an existing one, they do provide a dollar amount as to the investment that will be made.
The resolution states that “the company anticipates that, should its plans proceed as expected, it will invest or cause to be invested, at least $12,500,000, in the aggregate, in the project.”
So the identity of Project Paris and the exact nature of its project remain a mystery for now, but what isn’t a mystery is that Union County has 12.5 million reasons to be happy about it and look forward to it.
Industrial Park Expansion
Also on the economic development front, council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve second reading of an ordinance authorizing the expansion of the Wingo Joint County Industrial Park in Spartanburg County. The park is being expanded to include the property owned/operated by Auriga Polymers Inc., located at 1540 Dewberry Road and consisting of approximately 384.335 acres. As with their other multi-county park agreements, Union County will share with Spartanburg County the revenues generated by the property following its inclusion in the industrial park.
Council also voted unanimously Tuesday to sell a parcel of county-owned property at 225 South Street, Buffalo, to Buffalo resident James Rose for $510.
The property was one of three county-owned parcels of land in Buffalo put up for sale by the county, but Councilman Ben Ivey, who chaired Tuesday’s meeting, said that the only offer the county received was from Rose for the property at 225 South Street. Ivey said the other two properties, located at 218 South Street, Buffalo, and 110 Chestnut Street, Buffalo, will be put up for sale again along with some other county-owned property.
Council also voted unanimously to approve the purchase of a palm scanner for the Union County Jail for $26,315 and a Naviline for the Union County Supervisor’s Office for $26,365.
Council also voted unanimously to approve the following appointments/reappointments to the Union County Economic Development Board:
• Spartanburg Community College Vice President of Business Affairs Ray Switzer and USC Union Dean John Catalano to the Higher Education seats.
• Workforce Development Director for Union County Katherine Pendergrass to the Financial Institutions and Other Professions Impacting Economic Development seat.
• Director of Manufacturing Operations for Haemonetics Steve Aldrich to the Existing Industry Over 50 seat.
• Vice President Engineering Services for Broad River Electric Cooperative Jeff Humphries to the Member-at-Large seat.