Lee County focusing on economic development

BY JIM HILLEY
jim@theitem.com
Posted 11/16/17

Lee County Council is close to changing the way it shares money from fee-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements.

Council passed the second reading of an ordinance that proposes to dedicate 20 percent of that …

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Lee County focusing on economic development

Posted

Lee County Council is close to changing the way it shares money from fee-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements.

Council passed the second reading of an ordinance that proposes to dedicate 20 percent of that money to economic development, with the remainder being split between Lee County School District and the county’s general fund.

Council Chairman Travis Windham said the county would, in the past, first reimburse the school district for millage waived in the agreements and would keep the rest. Under the ordinance, 20 percent would be taken out to fund economic development first.

“We have had some real success in the last 18 months, but we need a steady source of revenue,” Windham said.

RESIDENT TO BUILD PRIVATE HANGAR AT AIRPORT

Council also voted to proceed with an agreement to allow a Clarendon County man to build a hangar at Lee County Airport. County Administrator Alan Watkins said federal funding for the airport is dependent on having 10 aircraft based at the airport.

Watkins said the airport has only eight hangars — the requested hangar would make nine.

“That will get us that much closer to having 10 airplanes,” he said.

The man wishing to construct the hangar would have exclusive use of it for 20 years, after which it would become county property, Watkins said.

He said most of the improvements to the airport have been funded with federal money, with federal grants typically paying 90 percent and the state and county each matching 5 percent.

Windham said the airport is one piece of the economic development puzzle and that losing the federal funds would make keeping the airport up to date hard.

TRANSIT INCREASES, YOUTH PROGRAM AVAILABLE

Betty Scotte and Lotti Jones from Santee-Wateree Rural Transit Authority thanked council for its support of the group’s work to improve transit in Lee County.

Jones said ridership has been increasing each year, from 2,000 two years ago up to 9,000 in the last year. She said the first quarter of the current year has already seen 3,000 riders.

Tammy Wise gave a presentation about Palmetto Youth Connections, a program that helps out-of-school youths ages 18-24 complete their GED, develop a skill and find a job. She said all costs are paid by the federal government as part of the Workplace Innovation and Opportunity Act and SC Works, but only one person in Lee County has taken advantage of the program.

She asked the council to help get the word out about the program, which has an office at Lee County Adult Education, 123 E. College St. in Bishopville.

“I think the youth is missing out in Lee County,” she said.

For more information about Palmetto Youth Connections, call (803) 840-1626.