County to announce 'very good news'

2010-10-30T04:30:00Z County to announce 'very good news'T&D Staff Report The Times and Democrat
October 30, 2010 4:30 am  • 

Orangeburg County economic development officials are preparing for a "major capital investment" announcement related to the county's largest employer, Husqvarna.

Economic development officials are not saying much about a planned Monday economic development announcement except to note it is "one of the single largest capital investments over the past five years."

Orangeburg County Development Commission Chairwoman Jeannine Kees said the announcement is welcome news.

"We are obviously extremely pleased that it is one of our family of local industries that has chosen to say, ‘We like Orangeburg and we plan to be here,'" Kees said. "This is especially good in the economic times we have been in the last couple of years."

Orangeburg County Development Commission Executive Director Gregg Robinson said the announcement is about "sustaining and maintaining jobs."

"They are investing in our location over other locations in the world," Robinson said. The announcement shows Orangeburg is "a great place to do business and to help you make a profit."

Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director David Coleman declined to provide specifics until the announcement, but said it is major.

"It is very good news for Orangeburg and when the announcement is made, it will show a strong Husqvarna commitment to Orangeburg County and a strong commitment from Orangeburg County to Husqvarna," Coleman said.

Robinson has said Husqvarna is planning to invest in capital machinery and equipment, and to maintain existing levels of employment.

The matter has been before Orangeburg County Council for the past month. Council has given first reading to a performance-based tax incentive agreement in preparation for expected capital investment.

South Carolina law allows counties to enter into fee in lieu of local property tax agreements with companies investing $1 million or more. Under the standard agreement, in exchange for its investment the company will pay taxes on a 6 percent assessment ratio rather than the usual 10.5 percent industrial ratio.

Husqvarna employs approximately 1,500 in Orangeburg manufacturing riding lawn tractors, tillers and snow throwers. Employment fluctuates with the seasons.

Earlier this year, Husqvarna announced it would shut down its Beatrice, Neb. plant and move its production lines to Orangeburg.

Husqvarna is the world's largest producer of outdoor power products, including chain saws, trimmers, lawn mowers and garden tractors.

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