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  • Allen Turner

County to tweak, expand Whiteville’s Economic Development Incentive ordinance

Whiteville Mayor Terry Mann speaks in favor of a proposed county ordinance for economic development incentive grants Monday night.

The Columbus County Board of Commissioners Monday tabled a proposed Economic Development Incentive grant ordinance based on a similar measure already in place in the City of Whiteville to allow the language to be adjusted to apply countywide, not just in municipal boundaries, and to lower the minimum investment required to qualify for incentives.

Whiteville Mayor Terry Mann, City Manager Darren Currie and developer J.E. Thompson spoke in favor of the proposed ordinance at a public hearing before the start of the regular commissioners’ meeting.

The ordinance, as proposed, was patterned after Whiteville’s existing ordinance, and would support downtown building renovation efforts through tax incentives. It would have applied to all municipalities in the county.

The plan as enacted by the city and being considered by the county, allows property tax credits for five years to property owners who have made such renovations.

However, at the request of Commissioner Ricky Bullard, passage or the ordinance was tabled to give Economic Development Director Gary Lanier time to draft new language that would make the ordinance applicable countywide, not just in municipal boundaries. Commissioners also agreed that the minimum investment to qualify for credits should be $25,000 instead of the $200,000 specified in the draft proposal, and Lanier also will incorporate that change into the language to be submitted to the board for consideration at a future meeting.

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