Oconee County is hoping to land its first Michelin jobs, but the deal for a distribution center isn’t done yet, county officials said.
Michelin already has extensive operations in five other South Carolina counties: Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Laurens and Lexington.
Last month, it announced a 10th South Carolina plant in southern Greenville County to make its airless tire called the Tweel.
Now Michelin may spend at least $175 million and hire at least 30 people for a tire warehouse in Oconee County near Fair Play, according to paperwork related to a property tax break the county is offering in exchange for the corporate investment.
County officials said those figures are conservative and the real numbers could wind up being $250 million for capital expenditure and 180 for jobs, with most of the positions coming from a third-party staffing service.
The proposed site is the Golden Corner Commerce Park along Highway 59, about two miles from Interstate 85.
Oconee County Council was expected to cast a final vote on the incentives package Tuesday night.
But county officials said they won’t know for sure whether Michelin is coming until early next year.
“We have held up our end of the bargain,” said Joel Thrift, County Council chairman. “Hopefully, this will meet with the corporate objectives and future plans and we’ll be a part of that.”
For its part, Michelin is staying mum.
Asked about the warehouse, Stephanie Tarbet, a spokesperson for Greenville-based Michelin North America, said the company “continuously evaluates investment opportunities to support future growth.”
The incentives deal would cut Michelin’s property tax assessment ratio from 10.5 percent to 6 percent for 40 years.
Even then, the Oconee County government and school district would collect about $2 million a year in additional tax revenue as a result of the warehouse, said Scott Moulder, county administrator.
And that’s much better than a tax hike, according to County Councilman Wayne McCall of West Union.
“We’re not going to tax our citizens anymore,” he said. “We’ve just got to hold the line. You grow your county by growing business.”