15 Sep 2014
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Cobb Hearing Today on Job Incentives

The Board of Commissioners is considering revisions to the ordinance meant to lure businesses to the county.

Cobb County residents have their last scheduled chance this morning to comment on proposed changes to incentives to lure jobs to the county.

The second of two public hearings on changes to the economic development ordinance is the highlight of the agenda for the regular meeting at 9 a.m. in the boardroom at off Marietta Square.

The changes would allow the Office of Economic Development to make decisions on a case-by-case basis whether to offer tax breaks or other incentives to companies to move to or expand in Cobb and bring in jobs.

A key change would eliminate a requirement that a company add at least 25 jobs and have at least a $500,000 economic impact to be eligible for incentives.

Instead, the county would use four tiers to judge incentive candidates. The more jobs a business promised to bring to Cobb, the less the business would have to invest in the county to earn incentives.

Tier 1 covers the addition of 25 to 74 jobs and requires a $500,000 investment. Tier 4 applies to the addition of more than 125 jobs and requires only a $125,000 investment.

The change would allow the county to recruit companies that want to lease space in the county instead of building, commission Chairman Tim Lee told the Marietta Daily Journal.

The first hearing was held Sept. 27. Since then, changes to the proposal include:

  • Removing the definition of an “area of substantial unemployment” in need of incentives for jobs as one with a jobless rate above 6.5 percent. The county’s unemployment rate was 9.6 percent in August, the state Department of Labor says.
  • Allowing the Office of Economic Development, county manager and commission chairman to decide how long a company has to provide the jobs and economic impact promised in return for incentives.
  • Defining “new jobs” to be full-time or full-time-equivalent positions.

The commissioners are not due to vote on the changes today.

The full proposal is part of the agenda attached to this article.

Other items on the agenda include:

  • A resurfacing contract for 77 streets in the south and east of the county covering 15.84 miles. C.W. Matthews Contracting is the low bidder at $2.69 million.
  • The addition of $155,330 in sidewalks, paving, security and other upgrades to the , using additional community development block grant money.
  • The presentation of the county’s third-quarter Community Service Excellence Awards to Nikki Brown, Mary Lou Coleman, Jerry Sargent, Michael Watts and James Zimmerman.
  • Other presentations honoring the police K-9 unit, recognizing the last week of October as Red Ribbon Week (an anti-drug initiative), proclaiming Oct. 18 to be Domestic Violence Awareness Day, honoring the work of Cobb Diaper Day Committee to collect diapers this month, and allowing Waste Management to present a $10,000 Think Green grant to the Keep Cobb Beautiful board.

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