PAGELAND, S.C, – The roses are Blooming on the downtown street corners in Pageland, S.C.
Pageland is a booming little town of 2,700 located just four miles south of the North Carolina border on US Highway 601 and a little more than 40 miles east of Charlotte, N.C.
In recent years it has added 1,500 industrial jobs in the immediate area and while I was in the office of veteran town administrator Cecil Kimrey, a call came in from another company with 20 jobs and the promise of adding 30 more. All the company was hoping for was a property tax break.
South Carolina is stealing business from North Carolina and elsewhere, but often from nearby Charlotte, N.C. which has a population of more than 730,000.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is getting much
of the credit for her economic development effort. But some companies go straight to the counties where they would like to relocate for help.
For Kimrey the bottom line (pun is accidental) for industrial growth is an expanded sewage treatment plant and longer sewer lines. The package, already being planned will cost millions. Fortunately part of the cost is being covered by the state and the town will be getting a federal grant.
Pageland has no major river flowing through it, so the
effluent here has to be purified beyond what is normally required. Purification depends on the size of the stream where the effluent is dumped, Kimrey explained. The extra purification is costly.
As I write this I recall how one Georgia town was saving huge sums with a different solution. (Another accidental pun?)
After visiting Sylvester, Georgia I wrote: “To further save funds the city owns 35 acre tracts of grass, where liquid waste, semi-treated, is sprayed. Because the size of the spray fields and pre-treatment of the liquid there is only a limited odor to deal with, according to Deborah Bridges, town manager..
One of my goals in writing this blog is to spread the word (ouch, close to another accidental pun) about how various communities solve their problems. I don’t know if it will work for Pageland but it is working successfully in a slightly larger community (6,200) in a neighboring state.
As for businesses moving in, Conbraco Industries now makes Apollo Valves in Pageland. Conbraco was founded in Michigan and a few years ago the family owned company was purchased by a Dutch company, which continues to manufacture its products here in America.
Tucker lumber is major producer of pressure treated wood products in Pageland.
The Pageland company, Screwmatics of South Carolina, Inc. “produces components for the medical, welding, power transmission, distribution, industrial switch components, and valve industry as well as many others.” Screwmatics
Walmart has located one of its distribution centers at the edge of Pageland.
The South Carolina Department of Revenue explains the tax breaks this way: “Industries that invest at least $2.5 million in South Carolina may negotiate a fee-in-lieu of property taxes. This can result in a savings of about 40% on property taxes otherwise due for a project. Certain large investments may be able to further reduce their liability by negotiating the assessment ration from 10.5 percent to 6%. For large investments, the assessment ratio can be reduced down to 4%.”
Kimrey says existing companies can get a similar deal if they expand, and they already can depreciate their equipment at 11% without any change in size.
An interesting twist I have not run into until I visited Pageland it the fact the state, rather than the town, is responsible for maintaining city streets and roads. This despite the fact the state gasoline and diesel tax at the pump is one of the lowest in the nation. (The legislature has discussed raising it).
Where did Pageland get its name? The Chamber of Commerce explains the community dates back to1793. It had a variety of names over the years. It got its present name 111 years after the first settlers arrived, in 2004. It was in that year “word was received of the impending approach of a railroad. The people were so excited by this they named the town Pageland after Capt. Dolly Page, promoter of the railroad.”
It has long been known for its large, annual July watermelon festival. A watermelon slice is painted on it water tower.
Pageland does have a bookstore. I had hoped “page” had something to do with publishing. I was wrong. But it is a very pleasant community that will make more of my blogs:
Pageland should be included. But as you can see, I already have more than enough for one man to do.
Pageland, I’m impressed.