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Letter: Public needs answers about economic development numbers
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At the economic development summit organized by the Kershaw County Economic Development Office, I stated the fact that Kershaw County has not been successful in getting new industries and industrial economic development. An economic development expert spoke at the summit and I asked why hasn’t Kershaw County been successful in getting new industries and industrial expansions? I asked the economic development expert what Kershaw County could expect to get in 2019 in industrial development.

The economic development expert, who was paid $4,500 to give a one hour talk on “How Kershaw County Measures Up,” could not provide concrete numbers in response to my question of why Kershaw County has not been successful over the past 10 years in new economic development.

We need answers. I am requesting that the county administrator make a report to me and Kershaw County Council of what Kershaw County can expect in 2019 as to new industries locating here.

At the economic development summit, we heard that we had many site- ready industrial parks and a megasite, and that the Department of Commerce and the electric cooperatives are actively and aggressively marketing our sites nationally and internationally.

I also request that the county council set goals and expectations for new industrial investment numbers and new job numbers for 2019 so the citizens will know what results they can expect for the $4 million in the economic development office budget for the past four years and up to $31 million committed in a $17.2 million bond for economic development from the taxpayers, which was enacted by county council.

I am committed to economic development, which is essential for jobs and our tax base. Over the past year, I have pushed for transparency and provided transparency as to the cost of economic development to the taxpayers and a lack of effective economic development. That is a fact. We now need accountability to the taxpayers as to results and cost. Huge spending on economic development requires results which we can have through redirecting our efforts.

Let’s market our great site-ready industrial sites and our unique megasite -- as recommended by the expert at the economic development summit -- through the S.C Department of Commerce and the electric cooperatives. Developing the megasite is the top priority, as we heard at the summit.