Representatives from each county’s economic development staff commented on the partnership as Commissioner-elect Steve Taylor took part in his final scheduled authority meeting before taking office in January.
As a member of the Cartersville-Bartow County Joint Development Authority, the JDA of Bartow and Pickens Counties and serving as chairman of the Bartow County Development Authority, Taylor has been involved in many economic development projects in recent years. With his involvement Monday, Taylor will leave his appointments on those authorities to serve as Bartow County commissioner following the retirement of Commissioner Clarence Brown.
During Monday’s meeting, authority members approved the minutes of the group’s last meeting, held in December 2011. As required, meetings were called each quarter, but no quorum was present and no action was taken.
Despite a sparse meeting schedule, Melinda Lemmon, executive director of the Cartersville-Bartow County Department of Economic Development, explained how the authority’s existence makes an impact on economic development by increasing the county’s incentive capabilities.
“Every project, whether it’s a new company or an existing company, gets extra job-tax credits because this authority exists,” Lemmon said. “We get an extra $500 per job, per yer, for five years just because you all exist. Se we really appreciate that, and Gerry and I utilize that every day in our jobs.”
Gerry Nechvatal, community economic development director with the Pickens County Chamber of Commerce, also attended Monday’s meeting thanking the authority for its help and provided an optimistic update for what their county is seeing in terms of economic development.
“I find the joint development authority has been very beneficial for a number of reasons,” Nechvatal said. “One, it helps us with our incentives and also Melinda has been a great friend and a great asset. We obviously can’t collaborate on a lot of things, but I do turn to her for help and advice and it’s always greatly appreciated.
“It’s been a very active year for us and a lot of the ground work we’ve done seems like it’s coming to fruition, as in most communities. We’ve had several expansions we’ve been working with, one we’ve been dealing with and talking about a lot, is a company called Restaurant Interiors. ... We’ve assisted them moving into a larger facility and we’re working with one of our other companies looking at bringing in a business unit from out of state.”
Nechvatal also shared with the authority, news of a new industry locating a facility in Pickens. The company, which has yet to publicly announce, will build a new facility in Pickens bringing well-paying jobs to the area.