The state of Georgia has announced that Marietta has been chosen for a program that will encourage new businesses to locate in the city or existing businesses to expand here. When two or more jobs are created, businesses may be eligible to receive $3,500 in state employee tax credits for each new job.
"This is the biggest economic development tool that we have ever had to encourage the expansion of local business and the relocation of other businesses to Marietta," city manager Bill Bruton said. "In many cases this may be the extra incentive that we need to make Marietta look better than our competition." Marietta is the first city in Cobb County and one of the first in the state to receive opportunity zone designation.
Marietta's opportunity zones include portions of Fairground Street, Roswell Street, Powder Springs Street, the South Loop, Franklin Road, and industrial and heavy commercial locations throughout Marietta, Bruton said.
Businesses may claim the tax credits for every new job created for five years, beginning in their first year of eligibility, Marietta economic development manager Beth Sessoms said. "The salaries of the new jobs must be above the average range of the poorest county in Georgia," she said. "Businesses may claim the tax credits against their income tax liability and/or state payroll withholding."
The city had to submit an application and an urban redevelopment plan to be eligible to receive the opportunity zone designation, Sessoms said. If an area is in or adjacent to a census block group with 15 percent or greater poverty where an enterprise zone or urban redevelopment plan currently exists, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) may award opportunity zone designation.
"The opportunity zones will promote the public health, safety and welfare in Marietta's blighted areas," Sessoms said. "The zones focus more on the commercial and retail sectors in the more distressed areas of the city."
Before the city found out if they'd been awarded opportunity zone designation, a DCA representative visited Marietta to determine if the city was eligible.
In order to be eligible to receive the tax credits, businesses will have to verify that they are within Marietta's opportunity zones. "Businesses will have to submit an application to the state, which we will sign to verify their location within the zone," Sessoms said.
The opportunity zones will be in effect for 10 years, Sessoms said. "We are thrilled to receive the final designation from the state, pending approval of the maps from DCA."
Opportunity zone designation allows Marietta to expand the definition of "business enterprise" to include all types of businesses.
About the Georgia Department of Community Affairs
Established in 1977, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs serves as an advocate for local governments. Georgia Governor Zell Miller and the Georgia General Assembly on July 1, 1996, merged the Georgia Housing and Finance Authority with the Department of Community Affairs. Today, DCA operates many state and federal grant programs; serves as Georgia's leading agency in housing finance and development; issues building codes to be adopted by local governments; provides comprehensive planning, technical and research assistance to local governments; and serves as the lead agency for Georgia's efforts to reduce solid waste.
Encouraging redevelopment while strengthening neighborhoods and commercial areas is a goal City Council established as part of Marietta's vision statement.
For more information, call Marietta's Economic Development manager Beth Sessoms at 770-794-5717 or visit dca.state.ga.us.