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Florence City Council moves forward on downtown project

October 10, 2018

FLORENCE, S.C. – The city of Florence continues to move toward an economic project that represents an investment of $40 million in the city’s downtown.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the city council unanimously approved on first reading Bill No. 2018-34 for issuing a bond-anticipation note.

The note allows the city to receive funds in the short term to pay the city back for expenses it already has paid for the economic development project.

The amount of the note would be $7.1 million.

Such notes are commonly used by cities and towns to provide short-term funding ahead of a major bond issue. In finance, short term is commonly used to mean anything less than one year.

Once the city issues the bonds, it will use some of the funds generated to pay back the bond-anticipation note. The bonds are expected to be backed by the city’s ability to tax its residents.

The city council also took a step Tuesday toward providing the revenues to pay off the expected bond issue. On a motion by Mayor Pro Tem Buddy Brand and a second by Councilman George Jebaily, the council unanimously approved on second reading Bill No. 2018-32, which lowers the percentage of local option sales tax used to offset property taxes in the city.

The city administration has been quiet regarding the nature of the project, but the information provided to the city council ahead of Tuesday’s meeting indicates that the development is anticipated to result in a private investment of more than $40 million and a public investment of approximately $17 million.

The information notes that the project “will contribute to the growing investment and development in downtown Florence, and will have an appreciable impact on job creation and the generation of substantial fees and related revenues for the city.”

The council is expected to hold the second reading of Bill No. 2018-34 at its November meeting.

In other action Tuesday, the council also:

>> Deferred the first reading on annexing several properties along Lake Oakdale.

>> Approved on first reading an ordinance bringing the city in compliance with recommended changes regarding the Setoff Debt Collections Act. The council also approved a resolution bringing the city in compliance with the changes.

>>Approved on first reading an ordinance annexing property at 341 Parsons Gate.

>> Approved on second reading an ordinance amending the city’s development code.

>> Approved on second reading an ordinance annexing property at 310 E. Gate Drive.

>> Approved on second reading an ordinance abandoning the city’s interest in the undeveloped section of Mears Street.

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