According to the experts, business is up in Forsyth County.
At a recent work session, Forsyth County Commissioners heard an economic update from members of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce. Robert Long, the chamber’s vice president of economic development, said the figures are looking good.
“Thus far this year, we have announced 21 projects, just under $80 million [in new capital investment] and just over 600 jobs,” Long said. “The actual number of announcements is up considerably from last year, and the investment and job growth is just under where we were last year.”
Chamber President James McCoy said the county has seen significant business growth in the last year.
“We have seen since 2016 a 40 percent increase in the number of new jobs announced in Forsyth County,” McCoy said. “It is very difficult to find anywhere in the state, any department of economic development in the state, that is anywhere close to this.”
Last summer, Forsyth County Commissioners adopted a new economic development policy in which commissioners would provide policy oversight and resourcing, the chamber would execute the plans and the county’s Development Authority would implement the plans and have an administrative role.
One reason given for the change was to increase the commercial portion of the county’s tax digest, thus taking some pressure off homeowners paying property tax.
McCoy said on Tuesday original projections for the tax digest revenue would be just over $900,000 and the actual figure was about $1.8 million, “which is 94 percent higher than we thought.”
Per information from the chamber, from June 2017 to May 2018, the county had 38 project announcements, 1,260 new jobs and $159.4 million in new capital investment.
Long said he expects things to continue in an upward trend.
“I think we’re in a pretty good position. Last year was a record year … for both capital investment and jobs,” Long said. “I think based on what we have in the pipeline, this will be another record year.”
For the new projects, 82 percent are domestic and 18 percent are from international projects from companies in Australia, Brazil, China, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Spain and Switzerland.
“One thing I will point out is some of the regular players aren’t there,” Long said. “Thus far, we don’t have any German projects, which have really sort of been our bread and butter.”
Part of drawing companies to the county is a new website giving information about the county. It can be viewed at ChooseForsyth.com.