New industry could bring 200 jobs

WINNSBORO – Hundreds of new jobs could be coming to Fairfield County in time for Christmas.

But even if third reading of the economic development deal with the unnamed company isn’t finalized until early 2019, it won’t upset too many people.

“We’re really excited about the prospect of this,” said County Council Chairman Billy Smith. “Nothing’s done until it’s done, but everything looks good. All indications are that we’re moving in a positive direction.”

Council members voted 7-0 Monday night on first reading of an ordinance authorizing the county to enter into a fee in lieu of taxes and incentive agreement with the company.

Smith said talks with the firm have been taking place for at least six months. While he said it’s still too soon to identify the industry or where it would be situated, Smith said the company is international.

More importantly, the industrial prospect is expected to create 200 jobs and make a $30 million investment in Fairfield County. Smith said many of the jobs would be well-paying.

“These jobs are going to be good, factory jobs,” Smith said. “We’re not talking about jobs that are paying $8 to $10 an hour. These are good, stable factory jobs, and that’s what we need.”

The new firm comes as welcome news for Fairfield County, which has weathered some economic setbacks in recent years.

Most notably, nuclear reactor construction on the failed VC Summer expansion project resulted in thousands of lost jobs.

That’s on top of more lost jobs when the Winnsboro Wal-Mart closed in 2016.

Fairfield County faced another scare this past summer, when Element Electronics announced plans to eliminate most of its workforce, citing tariffs the Trump Administration slapped on China, where some components of Element TVs are manufactured.

Element reversed course in September when those components were removed from Trump’s tariff list. After turning that corner, Fairfield County is on the precipice of turning another.

“We’ve kind of had a tough road, but we stuck to it,” Smith said. “This will put us in a much better position.”