Forsyth County earned national recognition for investing in its future.
The county was recently named as one of the top 10 counties across the nation for investment in local economy by SmartAsset, a financial technology company. Forsyth finished ninth, just ahead of Dallas County, Texas, and was the only county in the state to make the list.
“I think it’s very reflective of the prosperity that we are enjoying and we think we are going to be able to enjoy for the foreseeable future,” said James McCoy, president and CEO of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce.
McCoy said one reason for the high ranking was the county’s investment in infrastructure projects.
“They’re also taking a look at what we’re spending on infrastructure, in terms of our transportation system, in terms of our new schools,” he said. “My guess is that if you look around the country, we have to be on the front end of communities that are making a wise and thoughtful investment in our infrastructure, and as a result of that we’re seeing this large increase in investment from the outside community.”
The study took into account business establishment growth, GDP growth, new building permits and municipal bond indebtedness.
Forsyth had the best numbers for municipal bonds, which McCoy said reflected the AAA bond rating held by both the county and the city of Cumming.
“We have the best bond rating available,” McCoy said. “We manage our finances very thoughtfully, and actually we manage them pretty conservatively, despite the fact that we are investing in all of this infrastructure. We have great capability to pay for it.”
The county finished second for the number of new building permits and third for business growth, which McCoy said could be growing.
“I think most people think of retail, because that’s the part of our commercial economy that they interact with the most,” he said. “But when you consider health care, you consider the office space, the light industrial space, there’s just been a real explosion [of] growth in that area that we continue to enjoy.
“In fact, I think that number is going to go up significantly this year over previous years.”