Summerville considering incentive program for new businesses

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 3:50 PM EDT
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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - The town of Summerville wants to bring more businesses to the area.

They plan to do this through a new program that would make it easier for companies to expand or start-up in Summerville.

On Thursday, town council reviewed the proposed “Summerville Open for Business Program” which passed the first reading.

Economic Development Manager Michael Lisle says it would have performance-based re-imbursements. This means it would be based on how many new jobs the business brings to town, what their wages for employees are, and the amount of capital investment it brings.

“What we feel like is really important for this Open for Business ordinance is that ultimately it’s designed to help improve the quality of life in Summerville by bringing more commercial opportunity,” Lisle said. “Whether that’s retail, industrial, or traditional commercial and bring more balance to our commercial tax base.”

For businesses who expand or bring a new development to the town, they could be reimbursed for up to 50% of cost of the project.

Lisle says along with the Open for Business program, council is also considering a business license tax incentive. For this, Lisle says he has reached out to companies who are in unincorporated areas of Dorchester or Berkeley County asking them to move into town limits.

He says they are also conducting retail studies to see which types of stores and companies are missing in town.

“Because the reality of the economic development world these days is very competitive.” Lisle said. “What we’re proposing to do is something that many cities and towns are already doing and doing effectively. This just gives us that tool in our toolbox to be able to compete.”

If approved for first reading by town council on Thursday, the Open for Business program and business license tax incentive would be up for second reading in June. If approved, it could go into effect in July.

Lisle says companies will not be able to apply until officially approved by council.

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