Horry County Council approves AvCraft incentive and lease

      Horry County Council members met Tuesday and approved a third and final reading regarding the aviation company AvCraft and how to develop incentives for businesses to locate to Horry County.

      "Dear God, so many people are hurting. They are unemployed, underemployed..." councilman Marion Foxworth said during the prayer that typically starts off the meeting.

      Job creation was on the minds of many at Tuesday night's meeting. Unemployment numbers released the same day showed Horry County's latest unemployment rate was 11.6 percent.

      Horry County Council members voted on January 10th to take back a December vote that would have given grant money to the aviation company.

      "The last thing I want to do is to jeopardize our decision," Councilman Jody Prince said at the time the vote was rescinded. "The last thing I want to do is to jeopardize our decision," Councilman Jody Prince said at the time the vote was rescinded.

      Prince added he wanted the option to reconsider it so to give the opportunity "to make us feel all warm and fuzzy."

      AvCraft then presented the county with why they should continue with the lease agreement and a $100,000 incentive at a January 17th Committee of the Whole meeting.

      Under the lease agreement, AvCraft would use the MYR space for a 10 year lease at a discounted rental price. The 10-year total rent, according to council documents, is $3,904,050.

      "It's a great investment," says Brad Lofton, Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp. President. Lofton is charged with the task to bring employers like AvCraft to build along the Grand Strand.

      The vote was made with some dissent. In a 9-3 vote, Foxworth, Carl Swartzkopf, and Prince were against the incentive agenda item. The three also voted against the lease agreement. When asked why following the meeting, Foxworth said he'd be best to quote Einstein.

      "When you do the same thing over and over again and expect different results, that's the definition of insanity," Foxworth said.

      "I voted for it because I believed it was the right thing to do," Councilman Bob Grabowski, who voted for the items, said. "And there was a claw-back clause in it, which means that if they don't perform they will get some of the incentive money and package things that we've given them, and we'll get it back."