UNION COUNTY — We now know what “Project TRP” is but what is “Project Paris?”
For the past three months the identity of Project TRP remained a mystery even as Union County Council went through the process of approving an ordinance authorizing authorizing a fee-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement between that entity and the county. When asked about the identity of Project TRP at the beginning of the ordinance approval process, all Union County Supervisor Frank Hart would say is that “it is additional investment in Union County so we’re excited about it.”
On Tuesday, the mystery came to an end when it was revealed that the county had 2.5 million reasons to be excited about Project TRP.
In its June meeting Tuesday evening, 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 the time of the vote, Hart revealed that Project TRP 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.
Council also voted unanimously Tuesday to approve second reading of an ordinance including the Tyger River expansion in a multi-county industrial park agreement. The multi-county park agreement is between Union County and Spartanburg County which will share in the revenues and expenses of the park. 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.
This brings us to Project Paris which made its debut Tuesday when council voted unanimously to approve first reading of an ordinance authorizing a fee-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement between the entity assigned that code name and the county. Council also voted unanimously to approve first reading of an ordinance authorizing the inclusion of Project Paris in a multi-county industrial park agreement between Union and Spartanburg counties.
In presenting the ordinance to council for approval, Hart provided no information on the identity of Project Paris or whether it is a new industry locating in Union County or an existing one expanding or on the size the investment involved and the number of jobs that may be created.
Council must pass two more readings of the ordinance and hold a public hearing on it prior to third reading so in all likelihood the identity of Project Paris will not be known until August.
Industrial Park Expansion
Council also voted unanimously Tuesday to approve first 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. 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 approve third and final reading of the ordinance adopting the county budget for fiscal 2018-2019.
The proposed budget projects general fund revenues totaling $18,454,738 including property taxes ($9,254,700), sales and other miscellaneous taxes ($380,000), fees and fines ($635,000), licenses and permits ($120,000), intergovernmental ($1,496,200), charges for services ($2,862,000), investment earnings ($13,000), miscellaneous ($422,000), grants ($40,000), reimbursements ($158,950), proceeds from capital leases ($990,000), and millage increase ($95,100).
Also included in the general fund revenue total are transfers in from E-911 ($174,924), Victim’s Advocate ($69,725), Economic Development ($59,801), Title IV-D ($36,753), Poll Workers ($23,470), Hospitality/Accommodations ($40,000), Economic Development Infrastructure and Community Development ($25,000), UCCADA ($567,823), Solicitor ($207,969), Special Revenue ($332,187).
The total also includes commitments from the Committed General Fund Balance ($40,000) and from the Uncommitted General Fund Balance ($410,126).
Under state law, county budgets cannot operate with a deficit and therefore expenditures cannot exceed revenues and in the 2018-2019 budget they don’t.
The budget projects $16,261,116 in expenditures including:
• $607,483 for Supervisor, Council, and HR
• $165,630 for IT
• $375,897 for Magistrate
• $160,481 for Probate Judge
• $105,662 for Circuit Court
• $114,115 for Public Defender
• $461,810 for Solicitor’s Office
• $453,636 for Clerk of Court
• $118,595 for Voter Registration/Election Commission
• $35,522 for County Attorney
• $112,500 for Building Inspector
• $209,172 for Tax Assessor
• $84,926 for Delinquent Tax Office
• $169,486 for Treasurer’s Office
• $125,089 for Auditor’s Office
• $180,052 for Building Superintendent
• $3,884,344 for Non-Departmental
• $2,243,326 for Sheriff’s Office
• $179,613 for Code Enforcement
• $126,749 for Animal Control
• $114,012 for Coroner
• $1,155,542 for Jail Operation
• $996,703 for Detention Center
• $207,791 for E-911 & Communications
• $851,766 for Emergency Services
• $524,079 for County Maintenance
• $336,714 for Equipment Shop
• $30,700 for Health Department
• $42,000 for Department of Social Services
• $78,744 for Veteran’s Affairs
• $567,823 for Alcohol and Drug Abuse
• $71,725 for Victim Advocate
• $268,170 for Recreation Department
• $75,128 for Stadium
• $435,863 for Recycling
• $152,479 for Airport
• $420,771 for Timken Sports Complex
• $2,210,640 for Emergency Medical Services
In approving the county’s budget, council also approved the 2018-2019 budgets for the following fire departments:
• Bonham Fire Department — $163,100
• Buffalo Fire District — $148,000
• Fire Control Board of Carlisle — $47,576.48
• Cross Keys Fire Department — $210,292.97
• Kelly-Kelton Fire Department — $40,344
• Philippi Fire Department — $18,657.15
Council approves the budgets for these departments because they were established by Union County Council following the passage of Home Rule in 1975. The county’s other fire departments were established by the SC General Assembly prior to Home Rule and their budgets are set by their governing bodies.
Council also voted to approve second reading of an ordinance authorizing the lease of the Union County Carnegie Library — which the ordinance states is owned by the county — to the Union County Library Historic Tax Credit Partnership, LLC.
The ordinance states that the lease is designed to enable the library to “take advantage of the syndication of certain federal and state historic tax credits” to help it defray the costs of the ongoing renovation and upgrade of the library.
The renovation and upgrade of the library is projected to cost $1.8 million of which the library has raised $1.6 million, including a $1.25 million allocation from the State Lottery Fund.