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KCC carries out DIT investment deal

Posted: September 27, 2012 8:09 p.m.
Updated: September 28, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Kershaw County Council unanimously approved a fee-in-lieu-of-taxes (FILOT) agreement with Diversified Information Technologies (DIT) during its meeting Tuesday, finalizing a deal estimated to generate at least 20 full-time jobs.

DIT, based in Scranton, Pa., is expected to make an investment of approximately $5.8 million in the county during its first five years.

Council Chairman Gene Wise said there’s “no question” the deal will have a positive impact on the county.

“DIT is going to provide jobs. They’re going to provide taxes. They’re making an investment in the community that provides revenue to the schools and will help county operations,” Wise said. “Anytime we can get an employer here, we’re very thankful for that and we’re glad they’ve selected Kershaw County as opposed to other counties.”

The agreement also calls for an 8 percent assessment ratio during a period of 10 years. The ratio would drop to 6 percent based upon an investment of at least $10 million.

DIT, a document management solutions company, recently took over the former SPX Filtran building, located on U.S. 601 across from the Heritage Pointe Industrial Park in Lugoff.

In other business, council discussed a $75,000 funding increase request from Kershaw County Fine Arts Center (FAC) Executive Director Kristin Cobb.

Cobb explained that the FAC’s current operating budget is about $700,000, but generates a county-wide “financial impact” of about $4.33 million based on calculations by the Americans for the Arts, a non-profit organization.

She noted that the FAC is working on expanding and improving its campus and that the requested funds would help cover the costs of the projects.

She also indicated that since 2006, the organization has raised $550,000 through private fundraising efforts and additional government funds. 

While $125,000 is needed to finish the projects, Cobb requested only $75,000, stating that the funds could be awarded from the county’s accommodations tax fund and not necessarily from the county’s general operating budget.

“That (tax) money is from folks who are coming in for tourism related events such as our Blues Festival. I would argue that the Fine Arts Center is the leading tourism entity in the county,” she said. “Certainly, the equine industry does tremendous work as well as Historic Camden, the Chamber (of Commerce), there are lots of agencies trying to bring tourism in, but I feel like the Fine Arts Center has done a tremendous job over its 30 year history to bring people into Kershaw County.”

After Cobb’s presentation, Councilman Jimmy Jones asked County Administrator Vic Carpenter about the level of funding available from the accommodations tax.

Carpenter said “several hundred thousand dollars” is available and that those funds have not been formally earmarked by council.

Jones asked his fellow councilmen to discuss the FAC’s request during council’s next work session, scheduled for Oct. 4.

Kershaw County Library Director Amy Schofield also presented council with the library’s annual report during Tuesday’s meeting.

Schofield said she wasn’t seeking any additional funds, but wanted to provide council with a full scope of “what we do.”

She indicated that only the Bethune library, the smallest branch in the system, had experienced a decrease in visitors. She explained it was only a slight drop and that it remains “a very busy, active, and supported” branch.

Additionally, she said she felt libraries provide a “great niche” in the community and offer a “clean, comfortable, and friendly place” for county residents.

Also Tuesday:

• council unanimously approved the appointments of J. Henry Walker and Richard Simmons to the Kershaw County Planning and Zoning Commission;

• County Attorney Ken DuBose asked to establish time limits for public hearings;

• County Administrator Vic Carpenter proposed a timetable for updationg the county’s comprehensive plan; and

• council received an update from Carpenter about a successful United Way campaign organized by county employees.

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