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‘Project Chem’ revealed as WeylChem expansion

Posted: February 21, 2014 4:19 p.m.
Updated: February 24, 2014 5:00 a.m.

For the last several months, there has been talk about “Project Chem” at Kershaw County Council meetings. With publication of council’s agenda for its meeting Tuesday, that project has been revealed to involve WeylChem US Inc.’s plant in Elgin.

Council will hold a public hearing about and take up second reading of an ordinance Tuesday establishing a fee in lieu of taxes agreement (FILOT) with WeylChem. Kershaw County Administrator Vic Carpenter said the FILOT agreement would help the company grow, creating jobs.

“That is basically a fee-in-lieu agreement, expanding an existing business,” Carpenter said. “We’ll give them a flat fee instead of a tax bill.”

At one of council’s last meetings of 2013, Kershaw County Economic Director Peggy McLean -- still referring to the proposed agreement as Project Chem -- said the expansion is valued at $10.8 million for a gain of 49 new jobs. At the time, McLean said the jobs “are significantly above the county average … at $22.45 per hour.” She said the majority of the investment would be in new machinery and equipment.

Including second reading of the FILOT agreement, most of Tuesday’s agenda is made up of items held over from a Feb. 11 meeting cancelled due to inclement weather.

Council will also hold another public hearing focusing on the county’s stormwater management ordinance. The ordinance itself is up for third and final reading.

The agenda also lists a presentation by the Kershaw County School District.

“About once a quarter they come and give an update to the council to make sure communications are flowing,” Carpenter said.

Sheriff Jim Matthews is also scheduled to speak to council.

Tuesday evening’s agenda also includes a resolution honoring Coach Ted Monroe, longtime wrestling coach at Lugoff-Elgin Middle School. Another resolution regarding the county administrator’s salary will also be considered. Both were on the Feb. 11 agenda.

Two ordinances that would change zoning on rural property from RD-2 to R-15 will be considered for their third and final readings. The changes will allow the properties to be subdivided into smaller lots for the construction of single-family homes. The ordinances passed their first two readings by unanimous votes.

Also, first reading is set for an easement that would allow two property owners to cross county land to get to their property.

“It’s a case where there’s some property the county owns that is adjacent land and the owner is asking for an easement so he can have access to his land through the county’s land,” Carpenter said.

Under new business, council will discuss goals and objectives and will open a discussion on lifting a ban on Sunday alcohol sales. If council ultimately approves the measure, the question would be placed on November’s general election ballot for voters to decide.

“(This) is going to start the discussion so the council could put it on the ballot for the fall election to lift the Blue Laws on Sunday,” Carpenter said.

Kershaw County approved a partial lifting of Blue Laws in 2010 when voters approved a ballot measure to allow stores throughout the county to open any time on Sundays, instead of 1:30 p.m. That year, city of Camden residents voted to lift the city’s ban on Sunday alcohol sales. Town of Elgin residents voted to allow Sunday alcohol sales in February 2011.

Tuesday’s meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in the council chamber at the Kershaw County Government Center, 515 Walnut St., and is open to the public.


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