The Scotland County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday to receive public feedback on its incentives agreement with FCC and to finalize the details of a flier about proposed quarter penny increase in the county sales tax.
Only one resident spoke during the public hearing on the incentive package, which will see Japanese clutch parts manufacturer FCC receive 90 percent of its property tax payments on the $57.6 million expansion investment returned in year one of the agreement.
FCC announced last month that it would be purchasing and expanding into the county’s spec building, creating 66 new jobs in the county.
Under the agreement, if FCC meets its job creation and investment targets, the county will return 90 percent of the taxes paid on the new facility in year one, 80 percent in year two, with 10 percent reductions continuing for the six-year life of the agreement.
County resident Charles Parker praised the board’s work in recruiting the industry expansion, but also said he found the incentive arrangement “outlandish.”
“I’m asking you to go back and rethink this thing,” Parker said, citing his inability as a resident to negotiate on his taxes as evidence that the incentive agreement is unfair.
The board also finalized plans to send out an informational mailer to likely voters in mid-October describing to them the nature of a proposed quarter penny county sales tax increase that will be up for referendum in November. The tri-fold mailer could cost as much as $9,800 for black and white fliers or $11,100 for color fliers sent to all 22,000 names on the voter and tax list.
Following a discussion by the board, it seemed unlikely that the mailing would go out to all 22,000. It is more likely that the approximately 7,000 that have voted in the past four years will receive the mailer.
“We need to spend this money wisely,” said Commissioner John Cooley, who advocated limiting the breadth of the mailing.
The tri-fold flier will use graphics to explain that a purchase of $100 in taxable goods will equal 25 cents in additional tax.
According to the flier, the tax would not apply to “most non-prepared food items, prescription drugs, gas, vehicle purchases or utilities payments.”
The earliest the tax could take effect would be April 1, 2013. Cumberland County has already instituted the increase.
Laurinburg Downtown Revitalization Corporation head Jim Willis spoke during the meeting, advancing the idea of a continued partnership between downtown merchants and the county.
“You are us,” said Willis, telling the board that the county owns approximately 10 percent of property downtown.
Willis also filled the board in on LDRC’s “methodical march down the street” during which the organization improves downtown buildings.
Expressing what he called “very initial thoughts” Willis also mentioned a potential project which he said he hopes the county could partner with the LDRC in realizing.
“A Scotland County Sports Hall of Fame is exactly what down town can use,” Willis said. “You have the talent in your parks and rec department (to assist).”
LDRC is funded by a tax on downtown merchants and matching funds from the city of Laurinburg.