Columbia County is offering partnerships with local businesses as the county grows.
The Development Authority passed a policy to give grants or loans to a company and get them on their feet.
It’s called the Destination Retail Incentive Policy.
The idea is that the fastest growing county in Georgia wants Evans to be a prime destination for retail.
The development authority board passed the retail incentive policy back in october- the full commission approved the measure in december
This incentive gives businesses a maximum grant or loan of $100,000 if they are accepted from an application process.
But, it is a partnership not a paycheck.
Robbie Bennett with the Columbia County Development Authority, says, “each project is going to be measured on the size scope. The overall economic impact for that investment, for that project. What is it going to bring in? What is that visibility it is going to bring?”
We’re looking at more than just getting money for new equipment, or to help a new company stay afloat.
“We want to make sure they’re creating jobs, they’re not just shifting jobs from one part of the county to the other and that they are actually investing,” says Bennett, “and we want all parties involved in the transaction to have skin in the game.”
All parties include:
1. The business owner, who must locate in an approved location and fills a need in the economic market.
2. The community, the job must create five new net jobs.
3. The county, the business must be able to invest at least 250 thousand dollars.
“You may have a financial gap or an equity gap or maybe there’s a piece of equipment that you need that a little extra support could push you over the edge and set up operations here in Columbia County,” says Bennett.
The county has given the development authority $500,000 dollars to fund this policy from Ad Valorem taxes. That’s the money coming from your vehicle title.
With tax payer money helping businesses in town, the Development Authority is requiring applications and to meet with the board.
“We want to draw people in. We want to make that community, that quality of life grow and we saw this incentive policy as an opportunity to really find a way to partner and support businesses looking at growing,” says Bennett.
Those who can apply are existing businesses, businesses who exist and are opening a new location, as well as new start ups.
Right now, the approved location is the Evans tax overlay district.