Council OKs $102M Boeing incentives, plus road improvement plan

By Valencia

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Charleston County Council spent nearly an hour in executive session discussing an incentive plan for Boeing. Once out of executive session, it didn't take council members long to unanimously vote in favor of a 6.5 percent decrease in property taxes.

"The fact that they are willing to invest another billion dollars into our community says that this is somewhere that they want to be," said Elliott Summey, a county councilman who helped put the deal together.

Based on a $1 billion revenue promise, Charleston County officials agreed to give the aerospace manufacturer a tax break and pay back 50 percent of the taxes they do pay.

Still, the county will receive $102 million in tax revenue.

"My daddy would say, 'pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered,'" said Summey. "We're not going to be a hog, we're going to be happy little pigs collecting our $102 million in property taxes -- not to mention those 2,000 jobs."

In a separate agreement, the county passed an airport area road improvement project.

"It's a goal of ours that whenever we have such a good opportunity and a good thing that happens like another 2,000 jobs at Boeing that we don't adversely affect the folks that are already living here," said Summey.

The plan would extend Aviation Avenue to Ashley Phosphate Road and connect it to Palmetto Commerce Parkway.

"Fifty-three percent of the people that work at Boeing live above Ashley Phosphate Road," said Summey. "That's going to dramatically decrease the time that they are spending in the cars, while they could be home with their loved ones."

Summey says the road project will take 3 to 5 years to complete. He also says the design and permitting process for the project will begin immediately.

The incentive agreement gives Boeing eight years to achieve its $1 billion investment promise.