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Cobb Commissioners Focus on Economic Development

With two meetings today, the county commissioners seek to continue its focus on economic development and revising the county's economic incentives policy.

The will focus on economic development during two meetings today.

The board will hold a work session at 1:30 p.m. and regular meeting at 7, both in the boardroom at 100 Cherokee St. off Marietta Square. You can watch the meetings on the county’s Channel 23 and its website.

The regular meeting will provide the public a third opportunity to comment on . The commissioners then are expected to vote on the policy.

The revisions under discussion at the past two commission meetings would institute a sliding scale to the county’s policy. Under that proposal, a company could earn breaks on county fees with a smaller investment in facilities if it promised to create more jobs.

Instead of requiring the creation of at least 25 jobs and the direct investment of at least $500,000, the revised policy would allow an investment of as little as $125,000 if a company created at least 125 full-time jobs. That would allow Cobb to recruit companies looking to lease space as well as those looking to buy or build.

Since the second public hearing Oct. 11, the proposal has two main changes:

  • Any proposed incentives package would be presented to the commissioner for the affected area before the county gave the deal final approval. Currently, the chairman is the only commissioner who sees incentives before they are enacted. Commissioner JoAnn Birrell of Northeast Cobb sought the change.
  • The full commission would get a report at least once a year on the progress companies are making toward the commitments they made to earn the breaks on water and sewer charges and on fees for items such as development impact, plan reviews and business licenses. Commissioner Bob Ott of East Cobb sought that change.

Birrell and Ott have not committed to voting for the proposal even with those changes, the Marietta Daily Journal reported.

PDF files of the revised policy, the related review and oversight process, and the commission resolution to enact them are attached to this article.

The proposal is only a temporary measure. If approved, it will expire in one year. Commission Chairman Tim Lee’s plan is to propose a new policy that incorporates the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Competitive EDGE study.

The Chamber will present a update during the board’s afternoon work session today. Consultant Market Street Services has completed two of four phases in the process to produce a comprehensive economic development strategy for Cobb County.

The presentation comes the same day that the Chamber is holding its with all 12 Cobb business associations and the to promote business growth. The event runs from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Six Flags Over Georgia; admission is $10.

The Cobb Community Development Agency also will make three presentations during the work session with ties to economic development:

  • The process the agency will use to make the state-mandated five-year update to the county’s comprehensive plan. The county and Cobb’s six cities must submit updates to the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs by July 2, 2012.
  • An update on county’s targeted redevelopment sites.
  • An update on policies to promote and protect specific sites for industrial development.

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