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County looks at funding options
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Forsyth County News
Some Forsyth County businesses could be eligible for a state-funded tax credit program that rewards the creation of new jobs.

The county plans to seek approval from the Department of Community Affairs for the five-year program available to new and existing businesses.

According to the state, the program allows local governments to create opportunity zones “to provide tax incentives for economic development and revitalization of pockets of poverty that exist in communities.”

Under the proposal, some businesses in a northeastern pocket near Cumming could receive a $3,500 tax credit for each job they created.

Commissioner Patrick Bell, who presented information on the opportunity zones during the Thursday afternoon work session, said the program would be a plus for business.

“You talk about a retailer that would have 100 employees,” Bell said. “That’s $350,000 a year in tax credit ... The great thing about this is it’s state money, not Forsyth County money.”

The proposed opportunity zones include areas along Ga. 400, including Pilgrim Mill Road, Hammond’s Crossing and Coal Mountain.

The commission directed county staff to draft a plan regarding the zones. Commissioners could then hold a public hearing before submitting a request to the state.

Commissioners also voted 5-0 Thursday to declare all of Forsyth County a recovery zone, an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act designation that could make available $20 million in bond funds for public infrastructure and facilities.

A resolution to designate Forsyth County as a recovery zone will next be sent to the state before bonds are issued.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard said the resolution would note “the county as a whole suffers from significant poverty, unemployment, high foreclosure rates.”

The resolution would compare numbers from 2007 to those from 2009.