Aiken County Council finalized an economic incentive deal with Recleim during Tuesday’s meeting after unanimously approving third reading of a fee-in-lieu of taxes agreement with the company located in Graniteville.
The company, which plans to open a new appliance and e-waste recycling center by 2014, agreed to invest at least $40 million as part of the deal.
Councilman Andrew Siders said the agreement should benefit both Recleim and the County, particularly due to the 200 new jobs expected to generated by the facility.
“With the added jobs, which that region so desperately needs, I think it’s a win-win for both of us,” Siders said, noting the impact of recent plant closings in Graniteville.
Council also unanimously approved first reading in title only of an ordinance updating the County’s procurement code.
The proposed changes would alter how County money is used to purchase supplies and services, particularly when it comes to the competitive bidding process.
Assistant County Administrator Andy Merriman said by placing the item on the agenda to be read in title only, the ordinance can receive preliminary consideration and be changed based on input from the public or Council leading up to third and final reading.
“We can get it on the agenda and start working through the legislative process,” Merriman said.
Additionally, Council discussed and heard two public responses related to a proposed project to widen Hitchcock Parkway.
The project is currently being considered by the Augusta Regional Transportation Study Policy Committee, a regional effort to promote transportation planning in both Aiken County and Richmond and Columbia counties in Georgia.
During the committee’s meeting on May 2, Chairman Fred Cavanaugh, who also serves as Aiken mayor, indicated that he would like to see members of Aiken City Council and Aiken County Council examine the Hitchcock Parkway issue and provide a recommendation to the committee.
Two members of the public spoke during Tuesday’s Council meeting, each expressing concerns and criticisms towards the proposed widening project.
Councilwoman LaWana McKenzie asked County staff if any official word from Cavanaugh or the City of Aiken had been received in order for Council to provide feedback on the proposed project.
Committee Secretary Stephen Strohminger, who also serves as the County’s planning director, said the County has not received any direct correspondence from Cavanaugh or the City of Aiken at this point.
In other business, Council agreed in a work session before Tuesday’s meeting that it plans to meet May 14 as part of a special called meeting to discuss first reading of the County’s budget.
Michael Ulmer covers the county government beat for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since March 2013. He is a native of North Augusta and majored in political science at the University of South Carolina.
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