View scenes from the Nov. 11 dedication of Bamberg’s Veterans Monument,

BAMBERG – Economic development officials are praising the expansion of Phoenix Specialty Mfg. Co. and the possible expansion of other local industries.

“We’re very excited about the … expansion over at Phoenix Specialty,” SouthernCarolina Alliance Project Manager Brian Warner told Bamberg County Council on Monday.

“We’re also working with a current existing industry, getting through the final parts of the expansion as well, and have actually been contacted by another existing industry in Bamberg who are interested in talking about beginning an expansion,” he said.

Phoenix Specialty announced plans two years ago to expand its Bamberg operations with an investment of more than $5.4 million and the creation 35 jobs.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the expansion is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at 7576 Main Highway in Bamberg.

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Founded in 1907, Phoenix Specialty supplies washers, shims, precision stampings and other specialty products to original equipment manufacturers throughout the United States.

The company serves a variety of industries, including aerospace, agriculture, automotive, energy and more.

The SCA serves Bamberg, Allendale, Barnwell, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties.

Warner also said the SCA is promoting the spec building located within Bamberg’s 427-acre CrossRhodes Industrial Park.

“We have multiple interested, both domestic and international, as far as new and perspective industries that are moving into the area, or looking into the area. So we continue to push that forward as part of our product development,” he said.

County Administrator Joey Preston said, “We just got a $4 million grant to construct another spec building in Bamberg. This is in addition to the one that we have. So all the paperwork’s been completed. Now it’s just a matter of the state working with us to transfer the money. We’re looking at our plan as to when we plan to do this.”

As far as the existing spec building, Warner said the SCA is “pushing it as much as we possibly can.”

“If it fits within the spec of a project, we most definitely put it in front of that prospective project,” he said.

“That would be nice,” Councilwoman Sharon Hammond said.

Council member Dr. Jonathan Goodman II asked if the size of the building is a concern for industries which may be looking at locating there.

Warner said the 40,000-square-foot building is expandable to 85,000 square feet and would meet most industries’ specifications.

Preston said, “You can’t build a building like that today based on the current market.”

Warner said, “You can’t, and that’s what we most definitely push to these prospective projects. You’re not going to find a cast concrete building post-pandemic for that price. And, realistically speaking, that is one of the biggest factors that play into a lot of these companies in and looking at this specific building.”

“It is a very nice building, and it’s not going to be the typical metal construction. … It is that cast concrete, which most definitely has a much better fortitude to it. It’s a very strong building and easy customizable. That’s one of the best things about it,” he said.

Hammond said the end goal is to “get somebody in it.”

Warner said, “Yes, that is always the game plan.”

County Treasurer Alice Johnson gave the October financial report, stating the county had $1,288,745.24 in income and expenditures of $612,808.62, leaving a positive balance of $675,936.62.

When the negative bank balance at the end of September ($822,041.52) was added, the county’s regular account stood at a negative $146.104.90.

County Finance Director T.M. Thomas reported the general fund had year-to-date revenues as of the end of October of $1,472,007, with expenses coming in at $2,587,182, for a negative general fund balance of $1,115,175.

He said the county departments continue to operate within their budgets “despite the current collection status.”

“Hopefully at the next meeting report, with taxes being collected, you should see a big improvement in those areas,” Thomas said.

Hammond asked County Controller Gina Smith if the federal American Rescue Plan Act money is making a difference in the county’s cash flow.

“At this same point in time last year, in October 2021, we had used $800,000 of American Rescue Plan money. We have used $600,000 of it this fiscal year. That still leaves us a balance of $1,408,265. We’ll continue to use that as needed until it’s gone, but we’re required to expend it, or have it obligated, no later than Dec. 31 of 2024,” Smith said.

Hammond asked, “What happens when we no longer have those funds?”

Smith said, “We won’t have it, and we’ll have to use revenue from other sources, either from our fund balance…”

“So the fund balance would go down,” Hammond said.

“Well, I’m not going to sit here and play what if’s because none of us may not even be here in Dec. 31 of 2024, but it’s for certain a revenue source that we have that we will not have, or we don’t anticipate having in future years. But there’s other revenue sources that we may have then that we don’t have now,” Smith said.

She mentioned the potential of new economic development announcements as an example.

“That’s the hope and the plan, is that there will be other revenue sources to come along and replace that,” Smith said.

In other business:

• Council approved a resolution commemorating the 125th anniversary of the county’s founding.

• Council approved resolutions recognizing the following 2022 Firefighters of the Year: Michelle Martin, Colston Fire Department (and 2021 County Firefighter of the Year); Rodney Weaver, Denmark Fire Department (and 2022 County Firefighter of the Year); Derrick Ford, Clear Pond Fire Department; Harry Hughes, Ehrhardt Fire Department; Gilbert Korver, Govan Fire Department; Ralph Rentz, Hunters Chapel Fire Department; Richard Crosby, Little Swamp Fire Department; Andy Zissett, Olar Fire Department.

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5534. Follow “Good News with Gleaton” on Twitter at @DionneTandD

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