County council: Greenville passes tax break for $42 million Volvo facility, and other updates

Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 10:19 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Greenville County Council met Tuesday night, they voted unanimously to approve a tax break for a multi million dollar investment in the county. They approved a fee in lieu of tax agreement with Volvo. The company wants to establish a $42 million tooling facility.

Right now the company has a plant near Charleston but they want to create a facility here in the upstate which will make the tools and machinery needed to build the vehicles. This would be in two locations-- one in Piedmont and another in Fountain Inn. Under the contract agreement with the county, Volvo would be required to invest $35 million into Greenville’s economy over the next 5 years.

This week Volvo got a similar agreement with Spartanburg’s County Council. There they will be establishing similar tooling facilities at three existing locations.

Greenville councilman Lynn Ballard says the tax break was necessary because South Carolina has a higher tax rate than other states.

“If we don’t address that and put them on a level playing field as the other states, we won’t get the investments that’s just the way it is,” said Lynn Ballard who represents district 25.

Two people did speak out against the tax break for different reasons. The item will need to come back before council for a third and final reading.

In addition to that, the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office is seeking more money to help combat the county opioid and overdose crisis. Similar to nationwide statistics, Greenville is experiencing an uptick in overdoses just in the last few months.

The sheriff’s office only needed the county council’s approval to go forward and apply for the federal funding. So, it’s not said and done yet, but according to the plans, the funding might be able to make a big impact in how officials can fight this problem.

It’s two federal grants, one of which is worth $1.5 million. The grants will both be for programs to address the ongoing increase in drug overdoses in the county. According to state data, year after year the number of drug overdoses have continued to rise since the pandemic.

The grants would allow the sheriff’s office to get a detection system to help find fentanyl and other drugs. As well as fund an already existing initiative which assists people with substance abuse challenges find treatment options, rather than sending them to jail. It’ll also help fund Narcan for deputies and create an overdose database in collaboration with the Coroner’s Office.

Councilman Ballard says this is an issue the county has been fighting for years.

“We’re still always chasing that dog because this problem continues to go on,” he said. Ballard feels the grant money could make a big impact and help the sheriff’s office better address the issue.

These are federal grants they are applying for. so, we’ll keep you updated if they are rewarded the money.