By Will Williams
All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser
Economic development is an intentional effort of improving a community’s economic well-being and quality of life. It includes a broad range of activities to attract, create and retain jobs and to foster a resilient, pro-growth tax base and an inclusive economy. The practice of economic development is a collaborative effort involving industry, government and myriad of community stakeholders.
The Economic Development Partnership (EDP) has been working on behalf of and in partnership with Edgefield County Council since 1988. Our primary focus is attracting new investment and job opportunities in manufacturing whether by attracting a new company to the county or working with an existing manufacturer to help them expand.
Because of taxes paid by our manufacturers, which are significantly higher than homeowners pay, the county and the schools can provide the services that they do. The payroll that our manufacturing community provides ripples out in to the county to our retailers, restaurants and service providers. As you have heard before, a rising tide lifts all boats.
In 2018, the manufacturers in Edgefield County paid $1.4 million in property taxes for County Government and the Edgefield County School District. To put that into perspective, the county would need 1,053 new homes valued at $250,000 to be built to generate that same revenue. And because of Multi County Industrial Park agreements with Aiken County, Edgefield County received an additional $46,000 in revenue, over and above the $1.4 million in property taxes. In comparison, that is equivalent to 35 new homes valued at $250,000 being built.
In the first six months this year, two companies decided to make investments in Edgefield County. One was an existing operation, and another was a brand-new company to the county. These industries will generate an additional $130,000 in revenue to be split between the county and the school district.
There is significant work across a broad spectrum of focus areas to be successful in economic development. Areas such as product development(having shovel ready sites with appropriate infrastructure) working with our educational partners to ensure we have a properly trained and available workforce talent pipeline, marketing to site selection professionals and companies elsewhere that are looking to move or expand their footprint, meeting regularly with our existing industries to determine if there are matters impacting their success and help position them to be able to expand and create additional jobs. This work requires patience, follow-up and the ability to navigate through many issues.
We enjoy the work that we do and working with Edgefield County Council and County Staff. And we know that our work is integral to maintaining Edgefield County as a great place to live, work and raise a family.
Will Williams is a certified economic developer by the State of South Carolina and a recognized Economic Development Master Practitioner. He is President and CEO of The Economic Development Partnership that serves Aiken, Edgefield, Saluda and McCormick Counties.