Grants Part of BOMAG Deal

WINNSBORO – BOMAG Americas, which announced plans to locate operations in Fairfield County’s new Commerce Center on Feb. 5, was brought into the county with the help of more than $2 million in grant monies, a Fee in Lieu of Taxes (FILOT) agreement and an infrastructure tax credit.

BOMAG, makers of industrial construction machinery, received a $1.1 million grant from Fairfield County. A large portion of those funds are actually being passed through the County from grants it received from the State Department of Commerce, the Rural Infrastructure Authority and S.C. Electric and Gas, according to Tiffany Harrison, Director of Fairfield County Economic Development. Only $250,000 is coming directly from the County, Harrison said, and all of those grant funds will be used to develop the site at the Commerce Center. Another $1.1 million grant came to BOMAG directly from the Department of Commerce, with those funds also used for site development.

The FILOT agreement locks BOMAG in to a 6 percent payment of the 403.5 millage rate for 30 years. In addition, for the first 10 years, BOMAG will receive a 60 percent tax credit on FILOT payments.

All of those incentives do not come without strings, however. If by the end of their five-year investment period (calculated from the time BOMAG purchased the property) BOMAG’s property investment fails to meet at least 50 percent of its $18.2 million requirement, or if BOMAG fails to create at least 50 percent of its required 121 new full-time jobs, then the County may terminate the FILOT agreement and BOMAG would be responsible for all back taxes and repayment of grant funds.

BOMAG joins Element Electronics among Fairfield County’s newest job creators to receive FILOT agreements. The two new nuclear reactors under construction at V.C. Summer in Jenkinsville also received a FILOT agreement with the County, with payments expected to begin in 2017. Unlike ad valorem property taxes, a percentage of which is predestined for the Fairfield County School District, FILOT agreements are paid only to the County. How much of those fees end up in the hands of the School District will be up to County Council.

J.R. Green, Superintendent of Fairfield County Schools, said that, to date, no formal discussions have taken place between the County and the District regarding the allocation of FILOT funds.

“I’m optimistic County Council will do right by the District,” Green said last week. “That’s a substantial amount of revenue coming in just from those reactors.”

David Ferguson (District 5), Chairman of County Council, said that while the District was already well funded, Council would not leave them out in the cold.

“With the school funding where it’s at, being near the top in the state, we’re not in bad shape as far as that goes,” Ferguson said, adding, “We will always look out for the District and we always have ever since I’ve been on Council. As those (fees) come in, we have to look at them accordingly and divide it up accordingly.”

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