By Paul Gable
Horry County Council will vote on approving a $100,000 incentive package and formalizing a reduced rental agreement for AvCraft Technical Services, Inc. at its regular meeting Tuesday night.
Council reconsidered the $100,000 incentive package after initially approving it for a code named company. When AvCraft was named as the recipient in late December 2011, some council members moved to reconsider the approval based on AvCraft’s past employment history.
The new incentive package calls for AvCraft to add an additional 150 jobs to its current work force, which is approximately 57 full-time employees.
Mike Hill, President of AvCraft and one of five principals in KNH Aviation Services, the holding company for AvCraft assets, was effective in convincing council members to move forward with the incentives during a presentation to the council’s Committee of the Whole last week.
The county’s $100,000 incentive package, if approved, will be matched by a $100,000 from the S.C. Commerce Department. Hill said the money would be part of a planned $1 million investment in AvCraft that would include refurbishing and updating Hangar 358 at the airport, tooling for new aircraft types and a planned addition of back shop operations that would allow AvCraft to add component overhaul to its list of maintenance offerings.
In addition to the incentive package, council will be considering third reading of an ordinance that establishes a new lease of three hangars at the airport that house AvCraft operations. The lease will formalize terms of a space use agreement that has been in place between the county and AvCraft since September 2010. The agreement gave an approximately 60 percent reduction in the rental amount AvCraft was paying the county for use of the three hangars prior to September 2010.
The incentive package and 150 jobs promise it carries with it is the first project completion the newest iteration of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation under the direction of CEO Brad Lofton and board chairman Doug Wendel has brought to the county.
Hill hopes to add 15-17 jobs shortly and said the company will probably see some fluctuations in job growth as it moves forward on a new business plan to diversify into additional types of aircraft it will provide maintenance and overhaul services for.