UNION COUNTY — What if you had a friend who every year gave you a large amount of money for you to use to make improvements to your home and what if that amount of money got larger every year giving you the means to make even more improvements?
Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
In the case of Union County, that friend is the Lockahart Power Company which, beginning in 2001, has made an annual donation to the county for it to use for improvements to the local infrastructure to help facilitate economic development. In 2001, Lockhart Power donated $10,000 to the county, starting a tradition that continued this week when the company made its latest donation to the county. Things, however, have changed a bit since 2001, and, as a result, Lockhart Power did not donate $10,000 this year.
They donated $200,000.
Lockhart Power Senior Manager of Community Relations and Development Andrena Powell-Baker presented Union County Council with a check for $200,000 during council’s January meeting this past Tuesday.
In presenting the check, Powell-Baker said the donation is Lockhart Power’s utility license tax credit it receives each year from the State of South Carolina. Powell-Baker explained that a utility license tax is applied by the state to the gross receipts and assets owned by privately-owned utilities in South Carolina including Lockhart Power. While this tax is normally paid by the utility directly to the state, Powell-Baker said there is an option for the utility to receive a tax credit for any amount it contributes toward providing infrastructure for qualified economic development projects.
Powell-Baker said that since 2001, Lockhart Power has donated most of its annual utility license tax credits to Union County with the amount of the credits growing from $10,000 in 2001 to $75,000 by 2010 to more than $100,000 in 2011 to $200,000 this year.
As in previous years, Powell-Baker said the county must use the donation for infrastructure projects related to economic development. With previous donations, Lockhart Power made recommendations on what projects the company would like to see the funds used for and this year was no different as Powell-Baker recommended the $200,000 be used for a new entrance to or alternative route into the Midway Green Industrial Park. She said this would not only make the site more attractive to prospective industry, but also relieve some of the traffic pressure on the Lukesville Community.
Powell-Baker pointed out that the infrastructure projects the funds donated by the Lockhart Power have been used for has helped Union County with industrial park development and recruitment of new industries. While several of these projects have not been in Lockhart Power’s service area in Union County, Powell-Baker said the company nevertheless made the donations to help fund them because it feels strongly that it is important to support all economic development in the county.
Though the funds can be used in the service area of the utility that donates them they cannot be used to build infrastructure for that company. As a result, the donations Lockhart Power makes to the county cannot be used to build electrical infrastructure just as, for example, a donation by BellSouth could not be used to construct telephone/internet infrastructure.
Powell-Baker said that Lockhart Power’s donations have been devoted to projects related to industrial park development and industrial recruitment including:
Industrial Park Development
• Union Commerce Park — Roadways
• Midway Green Industrial Park — Midway Drive Extension and Alternate Entrance
• Trakas Industrial Park — Water and Wastewater Infrastructure
• Parts & Machinery — Fire Protection Facilities
• Dollar General — Water and Wastewater Infrastructure, Fire Protection, Roadways
• Gestamp — Water and Wastewater Infrastructure and Roadways
• Gonvauto South Carolina – Water and Wastewater Infrastructure and Roadways
Powell-Baker added that, since 2001, Lockhart Power has donated more $1.6 million to Union County through the utility license tax credit program.
About Lockhart Power Company
Lockhart Power Company is an investor-owned public utility serving Upstate of South Carolina since 1912, with 99 percent of its power generated from renewable sources. Lockhart Power provides reliable and cost-effective electric service to its retail and wholesale customers, while also providing renewable energy to Duke Energy Carolinas.
In other business Tuesday evening, council voted unanimously to approve the following:
• A request by Public Works Director Rusty said that he be allowed to fill two vacancies in his department.
• A request by Clerk of Court Melanie Lawson that she be allowed to fill a vacancy in the Common Pleas Court.
• A request by Detention Center Director that $21,000 in budgeted funds be released from Capital Expenditures for the purchase of a mini-van for his department.
• To advertise for applicants to fill a vacancy on the Board of the Union County Carnegie Library.
• To appoint Rick Smith to the Stadium Commission for an unexpired term.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.