Taxpayers elected the members of Beaufort County's Council to conduct our business responsibly. When we learned that the council intended to buy the Beaufort Commerce Park with $2.5 million of public funds and then literally give away parcels in order to lure businesses to the county, people wondered about the wisdom of the plan, especially since the business park's management had been trying to develop it for about five years and had failed.
On Feb. 14, a number of people went to the council meeting to protest the purchase. The council decided to postpone the vote for 60 days. Consequently, the $2.5 million deal may come up for a vote Monday. A current appraisal of shows the property to be worth about $1.6 million.
Some members of the council still favor the purchase, including Councilman Jerry Stewart, who represents Sun City Hilton Head. The current owner of the park has asked its bank to accept the deed in lieu of foreclosure, which could mean finding a buyer willing to bail out the park for the $2.5 million owed on it.
The council is correct when it says Beaufort County needs economic development, but the way to do it is to make it attractive and easy for private enterprise to do business here. The way not to promote economic development is to bail out a failed business park.
The council meeting begins at 4 p.m. in council chambers at 100 Ribaut Road in Beaufort.