Council redistributes economic development funds

By Andrew Wigger awigger@newberryobserver.com

NEWBERRY COUNTY — Newberry County Council approved redistributing economic development funds for water and sewer expansion in the Mid-Carolina Commerce Park, as opposed to making one site pad ready, during their July 21 meeting.

The amount redistributed was $840,000, which was already designated for the Mid-Carolina Commerce Park.

“As you all know, we’ve been working for almost a year on plans to expand the Mid-Carolina Commerce Park. The park is bisected by a creek and we’ve never been able to get to the other side of that creek. This plan will do so, build a bridge, a road, and drag water and sewer across that creek and open up about seven new sites for economic development in the future,” said Rick Farmer, director of Newberry County Economic Development.

Farmer further explained that they did not receive one of the grants they had applied for, which was a $500,000 grant from the Rural Infrastructure Authority.

“This year all those grants went to projects that had prospects, we did not qualify because ours was a speculative venture. We also saw a reduction in our request from the S.C. Power Team, we requested $1,845,000 and we received $1.5 million,” Farmer said. “We still received $2.1 million in grants for this project.”

This gave them two choices, Farmer said. He said the first was to come back to council and ask for money to do the project fully; however, Farmer said they did not like that idea because they believe it is important to live within the budget.

“The more appropriate thing to do is scale back the only portion of this project that was optional, that is the pad for the project. A speculative pad that is designed to cut time off a project,” he said. “We feel this is a high priority, while the pad only effects one prospect, the water and sewer will effect all the prospects.”

Council voted to approve the redistribution after Councilperson Mary Arrowood made a motion and Councilperson Travis Reeder seconded. Arrowood also mentioned that there is about $300,000 left that could go toward making a parcel pad ready in the future. Farmer confirmed this, but said that wasn’t enough to cover the full cost.

Council also approved Lindler’s Construction of S.C., LLC. for the expansion project at Mid-Carolina Commerce Park in the amount of $3,784,133. The bid was approved after Reeder gave a motion and Arrowood seconded.

Other business:

• Council approved second reading of an ordinance that would rezone 17.73 acres on Counts Road designated RS-Single Family Residential to R2-Rural. This rezoning will allow for a mobile home. This ordinance requires one more reading and a public hearing.

• Council approved a second reading of an ordinance authorizing the execution of an equipment lease purchase agreement not exceeding $481,000 relating to the purchase of equipment for Newberry County. This ordinance requires one more reading and a public hearing.

• Randy Mills, who lives at a Prosperity address, but said it is more of the Pomaria area of Newberry County, asked council to look into the sewer smell that is in his neighborhood and find a way to address the issue.

Reach Andrew Wigger @ 803-768-3122 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.