Aiken County is set to consider several large economic development proposals tonight, including mystery company Project Prosper and North Augusta’s plan to redevelop its riverfront to include a baseball stadium, resort hotel and retail shops.
Council will hear a second reading of a resolution to offer several incentives to Project Prosper, which is working on establishing a manufacturing facility in Sage Mill Industrial Park.
Through the purchase of land, equipment and apparatuses, Project Prosper’s investment is expected to result in $14 million and the creation of 38 new, full-time jobs, according to a resolution. The County will sell approximately 20 acres in Sage Mill to the unnamed company for $5,000 an acre.
As an enticement, the County is offering the mystery company a fee-in-lieu of taxes agreement through which the company will pay a fixed amount to the County over 30 years in lieu of property taxes.
That is essentially the extent of knowledge that has been made public on Project Prosper.
“We are unable to comment on projects that we may or may not be working on,” said Will Williams, executive director of the Aiken-Edgefield Economic Development Partnership.
In other business, Council also has plans to discuss North Augusta’s request to extend the life of an existing tax increment financing district along its riverfront so that it can use that revenue stream on the redevelopment. In order to generate the needed revenue stream, North Augusta would collect on future property tax revenue over and above the frozen assessed value of property in the tax increment financing district.
The undertaking, also known as “Project Jackson,” is a $122 million project. North Augusta’s commitment is for $43 million, to include the infrastructure, parking deck, conference center and stadium.
An analysis shows, according to North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover, that there would be a $292 million one-time output into the local economy from the construction and the overall creation of more than 2,700 jobs.
According to an informational paper from the City of North Augusta, tax increment financing doesn’t add new taxes to taxpayers. In effect, it’s similar to new and expanding industries that, with incentives, pay fees in lieu of taxes for a period of years.
North Augusta would issue bonds to cover its commitment to the redevelopment and Aiken County’s “only obligation is to send over the incremental financing from the TIF district,” said Walter Goldsmith, the City’s financial adviser.
State law does not require that Aiken County Council take official action to approve extending the life of the TIF district. However, if they are to disapprove, they must take official action by March 19.
Aiken County Council meets at 7 p.m. in chambers located at 736 Richland Ave. W.