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SCWSA’s Press Release on Building Infrastructure to Attract Industries, Including Tractor Supply Company

Recent malicious, destructive social media about the Saluda County Commerce Park has been unfortunate and not helpful to the growth and future economic well-being of Saluda County. The purpose of this press statement is to correct the misinformation about local government cooperation and the misinformation about the promotion of economic development in Saluda County. 

Saluda County Water and Sewer Authority (SCWSA) is a South Carolina unit of local government known as a special purpose district.  It is separate from the County and operates distinctly from the County much like the Towns of Ridge Spring and Saluda. The General Assembly of South Carolina created SCWSA.  SCWSA’s charter is to provide water and sewer in the unincorporated areas of Saluda County.  SCWSA is also indebted to the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development.  So long as SCWSA owes money to RD, SCWSA is prohibited by federal law from reducing its service territory.  In addition to its direct or retail customers, SCWSA also enters into wholesale water and sewer agreements with the Towns and provides retail service to local businesses.  SCWSA has a board of five who are residents of Saluda County nominated by State elected officials and approved by the Governor.  SCWSA’s board members receive no compensation for their service, even though they work tirelessly for the betterment of Saluda County.  SCWSA’s board has a responsibility to protect its service territory and its ratepayers.

The accusations that SCWSA including its Chairman tried to prevent Tractor Supply from coming to Saluda County are completely false.  SCWSA never denied Tractor Supply water service.  SCWSA and Saluda County were actively working together to provide water to Tractor Supply when Tractor Supply informed the County Tractor Supply was withdrawing its interest in locating in Saluda County.   

SCWSA’s Chairman owns a hardware store. Because a conflict of interest was raised, the Chairman held a special called meeting where the Chairman formally recused himself from any discussions or votes regarding Tractor Supply.  SCWSA’s Chairman was never involved in the Tractor Supply discussions.  SCWSA’s General Manager handled all the discussions with Tractor Supply.  The only SCWSA Board discussion about Tractor Supply occurred on July 25, 2022.  SCWSA’s General Manager simply made the Board aware Tractor Supply was considering Saluda County.  No action was taken about Tractor Supply in that meeting and there has never been action proposed to be brought before SCWSA’s Board by Saluda County or by any party.

On October 24, 2022, SCWSA held its monthly Board meeting and honored its commitment to Saluda County’s Chairman for SCWSA to place on its agenda and discuss “COST SHARING A WATERLINE TO SALUDA COUNTY COMMERCE PARK.”  Again, SCWSA’s Chairman recused himself from the discussion, out of an abundance of caution.  From that discussion, SCWSA’s General Manager will be sending a letter to Saluda County’s Chairman on how the two entities can work together to continue to promote economic growth in Saluda County, including at the Commerce Park.

SCWSA has been and will continue to be committed to providing clean water and collecting sewer within unincorporated Saluda County in the best interest of improving life in Saluda County and stimulating jobs growth within Saluda County.  SCWSA benefits from customer growth and not from reducing customer growth.  This is why SCWSA was supportive of making Tractor Supply a customer.  SCWSA wants the Commerce Park to succeed.