Capital Projects

The Laurens County Development Corporation (LCDC) https://growlaurenscounty.com/ is the local economic development agency for Laurens County. The LCDC activities are funded by the LCWSC along with several other partner agencies. These agencies contribute significantly to the economic development activities.

Laurens County, a member of Upstate Alliance, has targeted automotive and plastics related industries as prospective businesses due to the close proximity of the BMW assembly facilities in Greer. Throughout the year, the Upstate Alliance and Laurens County participate in trade shows focusing on these industries. In addition, the Alliance conducts international trade missions in which members of the LCDC travel to recruit international industry to Laurens County.

The Laurens County Council, the Laurens County Development Corporation, LCWSC, and other economic community leaders are making an effort to encourage economic growth through the development of Owings Industrial Park in northern Laurens County. Its proximity to Greenville and Spartanburg counties, Interstate 85 and 385, the new ICAR Park and the BMW assembly plant make Owings Industrial Park an excellent location for plastics and automotive related manufacturers.

In order to give Owings Industrial Park the same advantages as other upstate sites and as other locations throughout the United States, the Laurens County Council authorized up to $4.6 million General Obligation Bond. This bond, issued on behalf of LCWSC for sewer system improvements, will provide the much needed sewer service to the Industrial Park and surrounding areas and will stimulate capital investment in all of northern Laurens County.

Why a General Obligation Tax?

A tax is needed to pay for the construction of the sewer system because the cost of construction cannot reasonably be funded through monthly sewer bills. The cost of new construction is initially funded through a loan or bond with repayment coming from each new customer in the form of an impact fee paid as they connect to the system. The impact fees pay off the debt associated with construction of the system so that it is paid for in full by the time that it reaches its design capacity.

In order for impact fees to be affordable, there must be a relatively large population of people living in a relatively small area. This simple principal of economics prevents most rural communities from ever constructing a sewer system based on monthly user fees or impact fees. For a list of LCWSC system projects see our list of Significant Improvements.

For the Owings Industrial Park Sewer System, there is no significant population density to help fund the project. The leaders of Laurens County have chosen to fund construction of the sewer system with the aforementioned general obligation bond. This bond is to be repaid using tax dollars from Laurens County property owners living within the LCWSC Service Area. This is the most equitable way to construct new sewer in our rural county. The millage will be up to 4 mils and would result in an annual increase of $16 on a $100,000 home.

The real benefit of the new sewer will be the employment opportunities at the Owings Industrial Park and surrounding industrial growth that locates in areas where infrastructure such as public sewer, water, highway, and rail are available. The creation of new jobs as a result of this project will benefit everyone living in Laurens County. The industrial park and associated residential growth will also increase the tax base for the county and help maintain a reasonable tax rate in future years while providing the vital services needed.

 

Capacity Fees

The Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission Adopts Updated Capacity Fees
Released December 14, 2021

The Laurens County Water & Sewer Commission (LCWSC) continues to take proactive steps that will allow us to meet the needs of our community both today and tomorrow. These steps include a newly complete state of the art Water Treatment Facility on Lake Greenwood as well as an updated 20-Year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to allow for effective natural resource management and prepare for needed capital projects. To review LCWSC 20-year Capital Improvements Plan please click here.

While LCWSC will continue to apply for federal and state grants for construction projects, we also recognize that eventually this source of funding will become less and less available. Therefore, the LCWSC must rely on other funding sources such as capacity fees, similar to what the LCWSC and other utility systems in South Carolina already do to fund capital projects.

The theory behind capacity fees, since they are only charged to new customers, is to allow growth to pay for growth-related projects. Undoubtedly, current system improvements must be made before substantial facility and services growth can occur. For this reason, these projects are funded with bond issues (loans) that are partially paid through existing rate payers and partially funded through new capacity fees. The more capacity fee funds collected from new customers, the lower future rate increase will need to be.

Water and wastewater capacity fees are driven by LCWSC 20-year Capital Improvements Plan and meter size. The LCWSC and its rate consultant, using industry approved methodology, recently updated each fee based upon proportional usage from every user group. Fees increase in proportion to tap size from ¾” up to 4” lines; LCWSC will determine fees on a case-by-case basis for new customers with 6” lines or larger. A table of the updated water and wastewater capacity fees by meter size is as follows:

  • Capacity fees applies only to new customers who tap into the LCWSC system. These revised Fees are effective after January 1, 2021.
  • Most Residential Customers require a ¾ inch tap.
  • LCWSC customers not connected to public wastewater system will only be assessed the water treatment and water distribution capacity fee.
  • LCWSC wastewater customers not served by the Bush River Regional WWTP will not be assessed the wastewater treatment component of the wastewater capacity fee. They could be charged a wastewater treatment capacity fee by a neighboring sewer treatment provider.

2021 Capacity Fee Report

2021 Capital Improvements Plan