CATAWBA, S.C. — York County homeowners are asking county leaders to take away New-Indy Containerboard's property tax benefits.
The company is accused of releasing too much hydrogen sulfide at its Catawba paper mill, which regulators say has led to a foul odor affecting families' health.
Despite EPA and DHEC orders as well as three lawsuits, homeowners say that hydrogen sulfide odor coming from New-Indy is getting worse, and they hope this move will hit the company where it hurts: millions of dollars in their wallets.
Homeowners want the York County Council to take away New-Indy's "fee-in-lieu of property taxes" agreement. Companies that invest millions of dollars into their area can negotiate with counties to pay a fee instead of local property taxes. The state Department of Revenue says companies can save 40% on property taxes.
According to reports at the time New-Indy purchased the Catawba mill, the company saved millions of dollars in property taxes
Kerri Bishop is the founder of the original Facebook group calling attention to New-Indy's hydrogen sulfide emissions, and she hopes if the company loses those savings, they'll work quickly to clean up emissions.
"Its money out of their pocket and we're eight months in and nothing's changing so I just feel like a little incentive to upgrade their equipment might help a little bit," Bishop said.
The matter wasn't on the agenda for York County Council on Monday. Bishop and other homeowners plan to protest outside the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control Wednesday at 11 a.m.