Tax Break Clears Final Hurdle

WINNSBORO – County Council Monday night gave the final OK to an ordinance to offer a one-time tax credit in order to attract an international company. The ordinance amends the fee-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement between the County and Lang Mekra North America, LLC, offering them a one-time tax credit of $35,000 in exchange for Lang Mekra lowering its sales price on a building they own in the Walter Brown Industrial Park, Tiffany Harrison, Director of Economic Development, explained. Lang Mekra reduced its asking price for the building by more than the $35,000 tax credit, Harrison said, and the deal would result in more than what the one-time credit is worth in annual property taxes from the proposed new company slated to purchase the building. Lang Mekra, Harrison said, currently pays approximately $220,000 a year in county property taxes.

Harrison said the undisclosed company plans to make a $1.5 million investment in the County that would result in approximately $36,000 a year in annual property taxes. Harrison said the company plans to create 25 jobs over the next five years.

The ordinance passed on a 5-1 vote (Councilman Mikel Trapp [District 3] was absent), with Councilman Kamau Marcharia (District 4) voting against.

“Year after year, we’re giving these companies all these tax breaks, I just need to understand specifically what are we getting and what are we getting in return,” Marcharia said after his vote.

Marcharia also cast the lone dissenting vote on the final reading of an ordinance to expand the I-77 Corridor Regional Industrial Park to include property in Richland County.