Darlington incentives package closer to reality

Officials in Darlington and many other municipalities are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet while paying into funds required by state law.

DARLINGTON, SC (WBTW) – Darlington City Council held a public hearing on a plan to bring more business into the area. City Council then unanimously passed second reading of the ordinance to bring in those businesses.

“We’ve got something to offer them,” said City Planning Director Lisa Chalian-Rock. She and the rest of the planning commission started work last summer on an economic incentive plan for Darlington.

“Nowadays businesses that’s the first question they ask you is, ‘what can you offer me?'” Rock said Darlington needs to catch up with other cities in the region that already offer big incentives to new businesses.

“They do it at the state level with bigger industries, and they do it at the municipal level with cities,” Rock said. “Asking ‘what kinds of incentives do you offer, how can you help me locate here, why should I choose you?'”

The incentives plan offers discounts to new businesses for bringing jobs into the area. Businesses can ask for discounts on hospitality and accommodations taxes, as well on their business license fees.

Rock said the city would like to see more hotels in the area.

“We weighted the accommodations incentives a little bit heavier” Rock explained. “Because we really want to see another hotel come to town.”

Rock said the planning commission modeled its plan after other successful cities like Greenville in the Upstate.

“You don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” said Rock. “If somebody’s doing something that works, then we wanna do something that works too.”

In other business the council also approved a city beautification plan brought forward by the Beautification Board, detailing areas in Darlington that they said needed to be cleaned up as soon as possible.