Boeing incentives coming before Charleston County Council

Boeing incentives coming before Charleston County Council


With Boeing’s $120 million in state assistance all but a done deal, it’s now Charleston County’s turn to consider how to help grow the North Charleston 787 complex.Two weeks after a bond bill was introduced in the South Carolina legislature, County Council will take up its own incentives package.

The county finance committee and full council will consider the deal, which features a fee-in-lieu-of-tax agreement, at back-to-back meetings tonight.

The meeting agenda didn’t offer much detail under the “Boeing Financial Incentives” line item, simply noting there will be a request to approve an “inducement resolution,” which will identify the project. Also, the county will introduce an ordinance that will enable Boeing to replace taxes it would incur on new machinery, buildings and other property with a negotiated fee.

The proposal requires council to approve it with three separate votes. A county spokesman said he could not provide any more information until the meeting.

Boeing South Carolina spokeswoman Candy Eslinger said Monday she did not have the details of the package but added that the county incentives are tied to the “same expansion efforts” that the company announced earlier this month.

“We will most likely seek incentives that are available to all companies who, like Boeing, are creating new jobs and making investments in South Carolina,” Eslinger said. “The same would be true if available in other locations where we operate.”

Boeing assembles the 787 Dreamliner in North Charleston and Everett, Wash., and has more than 6,000 South Carolina employees.

In conjunction with the introduction of a bill outlining the state’s incentives, Boeing announced it would invest more than $1 billion and hire another 2,000 workers by 2021.

That investment is already in motion. Boeing has been expanding its aft-fuselage and paint buildings since late last summer, and earlier this year, it began adding a Dreamlifter cargo-jet operations center to the back end of the mid-fuselage assembly building.

The company also has announced plans to concentrate its information technology work in North Charleston, accounting for perhaps half of the promised jobs, and buy another 320 acres at Charleston International Airport for unspecified future growth.

The state bond bill has flown through the General Assembly, passing the Senate two weeks ago and the House last week. Gov. Nikki Haley has signaled her support of the deal.

Meanwhile, Monday saw the first South Carolina 787 flight in more than three months.

According to flight-tracking website Flight- Aware, one of the red-tailed 787s that has been parked on the North Charleston flight line returned to the air Monday morning for a looping two-hour flight over the Atlantic.

The Federal Aviation Administration grounded the Dreamliner fleet three months ago after a pair of battery malfunctions in Boston and over Japan. After much investigation and buzz, the FAA approved Boeing’s 787 battery fixes Friday, clearing the way for a return to commercial flights. The exact cause of the battery problem has not been identified.

Eslinger said the plane that flew Monday has not received the full battery fix but it will before it is delivered.

“We are flying under an FAA-issued Alternate Method of Compliance that allows us to fly with the new battery enclosure structure and baseline model batteries that have been carefully screened to new levels of acceptance criteria,” Eslinger said in an email.

The aerospace giant will first retrofit the 50 787s delivered to date and then turn to the airplanes at the factories, Eslinger said.

“Boeing has deployed teams to locations around the world to begin installing improved battery systems on 787s, upon approval by appropriate local regulatory authorities,” Eslinger wrote. The modification process takes about five days per plane and should be done “within weeks,” she added.

Reach Brendan Kearney at 937-5906

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