Darlington offers incentives program for business community

Darlington offers incentives program for business community

DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - The city of Darlington is doing its part to recruit new industry, as the city council approved an economic development incentives program to encourage revitalization and redevelopment.

It also encourages existing businesses to invest more and expand by using the incentives program. The goals are to promote the construction of new buildings and to support the economy.

"We don't want to turn any jobs away, that's for sure," said Lisa Rock, director of planning for the city of Darlington. "You know, jobs is a huge thing in this area and in the Pee Dee, and we desperately need jobs and we need more businesses in town. So, we definitely want to encourage any business that wants to come and wants to invest in our community."

The package includes discounts on building permit fees, hospitality and accommodation taxes, and business license fees.

Rock said the city doesn't come up with the money up front for the new businesses.

"They agree they will create X number of jobs or invest X number of dollars, and at the end of the year they have paid in their building permit fees or accommodation taxes or whatever they agreed upon, and at the end of the year they will get that rebated back to them," she said.

A potential discount of 50 percent off accommodations taxes could be collected, Rock explained, if the business creates 100-plus full time jobs for a period of three years.

According to Rock, businesses must create enough jobs and economic opportunity for the community that it warrants the incentives.

One huge need is for more hotels in Darlington. Rock said she hopes this new program will help, and the real estate must be created to do so.

"We do know the challenge in being as close as we are to Florence and I-95," Rock said. "It's a good thing and a bad thing."

Therefore, it's getting industry to choose Darlington.

"But there is an interchange there. It's actually very large; it's the largest-growing interchange on I-95 in the state of South Carolina and so to convince a hotel to come to the city of Darlington versus Florence or right on the interstate, we have to have something else to offer them," Rock said.

Existing businesses are encouraged to get involved as well to revamp or update and expand a business. The city said there is a $5,000 façade improvement grant to apply for.

Click here for eligibility and application forms.

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