UNION — Local support for the expansion of Union County’s manufacturing sector continues to grow.
Union County Council voted Tuesday to approve first reading of an ordinance authorizing a “fee in lieu of tax arrangement” with Gestamp.
A fee in lieu of taxes agreement allows a company to pay a lower property tax rate.
The ordinance is the latest in a series of steps the county has taken in recent years to foster economic development and job creation through industrial incentives.
In December, council voted unanimously to approve a resolution extending a fee in lieu of taxes agreement with the automotive parts manufacturer for another year. The resolution also authorized the county to enter into agreements with Gestamp to facilitate the expansion of the company’s manufacturing facility.
The fee-in-lieu of taxes agreement was initially implemented in 2006 when the $90 million facility was built, creating 130 jobs. It was scheduled to expire in 2011, but Gestamp requested it be extended through the end of the 2012 tax year.
The agreements cover the 150,000 square-foot expansion of the facility currently under way. Gestamp is investing $60 million in the expansion which is designed to increase the facility’s to handle increased production from new business contracts. The expansion is projected to create approximately 120 new jobs.
Gestamp is the parent company of Gonvarri Steel Services which is building Gonvauto South Carolina next to Gestamp’s Union County facility. Gonvauto will be Gonvarri’s first steel service center in America and will supply the Gestamp facility which is a supplier of BMW.
Gonvarri is making an initial investment of $35 million in Gonvauto, which will employ a workforce of 40 and have a flat steel processing capacity of 100,000 tons. Construction is already under way on the Gonvauto facility, which is projected to be in operation by the middle of 2013.
After the facility goes into operation, Gonvarri plans to invest another $15 million in Gonvauto and create an additional 25 jobs.
Council has also approved an incentive package for Gonvauto that includes a fee in lieu of taxes agreement; a special revenue source credit; the transfer of land from the county to the company; and an option for the company to buy more land.
The county has also taken a number of other steps to facilitate the construction and operation of the facility and a rail spur that will be built linking it to the nearby Norfolk & Southern rail line including moving the Bonham recycling convenience center and the Union County Public Works Department.
In other business, council voted to appoint Dalton Williams to the Union County Tourism Commission.
Council also authorized the supervisor’s office to advertise for applicants to fill two two vacancies on the board of the Union County Carnegie Library and three on the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission.