By Paul Gable
Horry County Council approved a $100,000 incentive package and reduced rental on three hangars at Myrtle Beach International Airport for AvCraft Technical Services, Inc., during its regular meeting Tuesday night.
The vote was 8-3 with council members Jody Prince, Carl Schwartzkopf and Marion Foxworth voting nay and council member James Frazier absent.
The incentive package calls for AvCraft to add 150 employees within the next five years. This is the first job development package introduced by the newest version of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation and its CEO Brad Lofton. When Lofton was hired in April 2011, he signed a contract to produce 500 new jobs in 18 months.
AvCraft CEO Mike Hill told council he wanted to hire 15-17 employees in the near future, but most of the jobs would come from year three onward. In addition, Hill told council the job skills needed for the new positions were difficult to find in Horry County and he would probably have to hire out of state residents who would be willing to relocate here.
Another economic development project that was to have been introduced at Tuesday’s meeting was not on the agenda. This package, reportedly, is with a current Horry County business that projected to expand its workforce by 80 employees in return for a 20-year reduction in taxes of $30,000 per year and the creation of a multi-county business park containing the business property.
Use of a multi-county business park would require three reading ordinance approval by council, but would provide the benefit of being able to bond immediately against the tax reduction with the proceeds of the bond going to build a new building and associated infrastructure at no cost to the business. Approval of the bond issue would also require council approval.
Council member Gary Loftus recommended discussion among council to determine if the county should eliminate the issuance of vendor and special event permits in the month of May to further restrict bike week events during that month. This issue is reportedly a discussion for council’s February 7, 2010 regular meeting.
If permits are eliminated for the month of May, the Little River Blue Crab Festival would also be affected as it is traditionally held in May. The festival was reportedly cancelled for 2012 for organizational reasons, but council member Harold Worley has been attempting to find a solution with county staff help to have the festival continue as usual. Loftus’ recommendation would be a new blow for continuance of the festival.