Aiken aims to expand business investments throughout the area with incentive based ordinance

The City of Aiken is looking for ways to sway business owners to invest in the area.

Scottie Myrick has seen his family's business grow for the past 50 plus years so it's only right he continues the tradition. It was a no brainer for him to show up to the open forum about the proposed economic incentive program on Monday.

"I'm looking to expand my business in the community where it's at and I saw a lot of good parts of it and some parts that had my concerns," says Myrick.

This proposed ordinance sway's business owners to invest in different areas. For example on the North-side, if a business owner invests at least $100,000 into a project then they are eligible for incentives that includes reimbursement of your business license fee and permit to name a few.

"We're trying to put a thumb on the scale and make the difference for some of those neighborhoods that need a little bit of help to get some more development in their area," says Tim O'Briant, Community Affairs & Tourism Manager.
"If they're going to give you an incentive to do it then of course you would want that. The more employees you're able to hire then the more successful your business is going," explains Myrick. 
But take the downtown area of Aiken for another example. To be eligible for these incentives, a business owner will have to make at least a half million-dollar investment. A tall task for some of the smaller business owners in the area.

"If you're an up and coming business or a small business that's been there then it's easy to get overran by a big business," says Myrick.
As it stands, none of these numbers are final and the qualifications for the reimbursements are on a case by case basis. And these business owners, whether small or large will have to hit the incentives before they receive any of the resident's tax dollars.
"You've got to make an agreement that you will provide value to the people of the city of Aiken through creating jobs, retail sales and other benchmarks before the City of Aiken shares some incentives with you," says O'Briant.

Next Monday the ordinance will be revised in the city council work session where changes can be made.

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