By Chuck Crumbo
Published July 5, 2012
WINNSBORO, S.C. — Fairfield County plans to use some of the property tax revenue generated by the $9.8 billion expansion project currently under way at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station to pay for a new industrial park.
The tax money from South Carolina Electric & Gas, which operates the nuclear power station with state-owned Santee Cooper, would be used to pay off $6 million in municipal bonds the county sold to finance the 684-acre Fairfield Commerce Center, said David Ferguson, council chairman.
|Click image to enlarge map of the Fairfield Commerce Center.|
Fairfield County, which last year collected $23 million in property taxes from SCE&G, could see the amount of revenue from the nuclear plant in Jenkinsville more than double, Ferguson said.
“We looked at the numbers when this thing started and figured (revenues) would be double to 2½ times what they are now, which would be about $55 million,” Ferguson said. “And, then I’ve heard numbers that would surpass that amount. To be honest with you, I really don’t know how much more, but I know it will be a help.”
Cayce-based SCE&G, the principal subsidiary of publicly traded SCANA, will own 55% or about $5.5 billion of the new nuclear construction project.
SCE&G and Santee Cooper are building two 1,100-megawatt reactor units at the Jenkinsville power plant that are expected to go into operation in 2016 and 2017. The utilities run a 966-megawatt reactor unit, which began commercial operation in 1984, at V.C. Summer.
The new commerce center in Fairfield County could be one of the largest Class A industrial parks in South Carolina. The site’s location at Peach Road and Interstate 77 is a key selling point, Ferguson said.
The site is less than an hour’s drive from two large metro areas — Columbia to the south and Charlotte to the north. The park — divided into 19 parcels ranging from 12 to 86 acres — also can accommodate building and site configurations of various shapes and sizes, Ferguson said.
“We can do small, mom-and-pop facilities and take on the 100-acre projects, too,” he said.
Ferguson expects the first phase of the project to be completed in the next seven months. Given the location and size, county leaders think the new commerce center will attract new jobs to the area and help put a dent in the local unemployment rate, which in May was 12.2%, three percentage points above the state’s 9.1% jobless rate.
“This kind of thing will help us,” he said.
Reach Chuck Crumbo at 803-401-1094, ext. 206.