JDA annual meeting looks back at 2013
by Jason Lowrey
Feb 20, 2014 | 1517 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For its annual review, the Bartow-Cartersville Joint Development Authority reflected on the top business headlines for 2013, and how a variety of projects collectively added 1,570 jobs to the local economy.

While giving the annual report Tuesday afternoon, Cartersville-Bartow County Economic Development Executive Director Melinda Lemmon said 16 projects throughout Bartow County were expected to create 1,570 jobs. The total collective investment of those projects, she continued, is valued at $505,150,000. The projects include the Toyo Tire expansion, the new Shaw Plant in Adairsville, the expansion at the Vulcan Materials quarry, the new Academy Sports store in Cartersville, investments at Shaw Plant X and Anheuser-Busch and various hirings at smaller businesses.

Other highlighted business stories throughout the year included Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor setting the county freeport exemption at 100 percent, Georgia Power dedicating its Water Research Center, Komatsu unveiling a new dozer at its Cartersville headquarters and Yanmar launching a diesel engine remanufacturing unit, among other announcements.

At the end of her review, Lemmon reflected on the JDA’s record since 2004.

“I think part of what’s different about this joint development authority is there’s a proactive approach to nurturing the existing businesses, recruit new ones, but do it in a collaborative manner. This group is a solid team that works together and it has been such a pleasure to work for them. So for these 10 years, here are some of the results,” she said.

Since 2004, Lemmon said, the JDA has handled 116 projects that created a collective 8,614 jobs. The collective capital investment comes to $3,856,345,590.

Before thanking the JDA board members and the board’s public and private partners, Lemmon said she hoped to top $4 billion in collective investment by the end of 2014.

Prior to hearing the annual review, the JDA met for its regular monthly meeting, and it discussed whether it should place an ad in Georgia Trend, a monthly magazine focusing on economic development in Georgia.

“But they’re going to spotlight us ... in the April issue for this coming year,” Lemmon said. “One of the reasons that that’s important to me is this issue gets in front of the Red Carpet Tour guests. The Red Carpet Tour has not come to northwest Georgia in some time, so we don’t get a chance to interface with those guests.

“They’re in another region of the state. They’re watching the Masters. They’re doing other things, but this edition will get in front of them. Our community has a great story to tell, particularly in an economic development regard.”

The Red Carpet Tour, according to the Georgia Chamber’s website, is a four-day, invitation-only event. Guests are paired with Georgia industry leaders for the tour and they are given accounts of how businesses operate in the state. The tour visits different regions throughout Georgia and ends at The Masters Tournament in Augusta.

The minimum ad Lemmon requested was a 1/6-page color ad, which is priced at $3,732.

“And so I know that we’re mindful of the very tight budget, but I would like to propose that we do at least a small ad in the Georgia Trend magazine to be in the same profile section of the story,” she said.

It was also possible, Lemmon continued, the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce would contribute to a portion of the advertising cost.

The JDA’s line item for advertising, Treasurer Sonny Miller said, was $12,000 in 2013. However, the JDA spent $3,600 of that amount last year, Miller added.

“Whatever we do, it’s my suggestion that it’s a trial because, I don’t remember all the details, but they put our community in a bad light last time,” said Vice-Chairman Tommy Strickland.

Lemmon explained after the meeting that a previous Georgia Trend article had an unfavorable opinion of Bartow County.

“A few years ago, back in ’04 when Toyo was being recruited — we know what a success story they are now, almost a $1.5 billion [investment] and they’ll have about 1,700 employees annually. But it wasn’t always popular and the reporter who did the community profile story really slammed us for recruiting Toyo,” she said.

The JDA board voted on looking into a half-page color ad, which is slated to cost the authority $5,576, according to Georgia Trend’s advertising rate scale.

In other business, the authority:

• approved electing all board members to their current positions.

• heard the December 2013 financial report.

• tabled a contract for services with the chamber of commerce.

• heard an update on the Highland 75 industrial park.

• approved a change to the Georgia Power lighting contract at Highland 75.

• heard a department update from Lemmon.

The next regular JDA meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 18, at noon at the Clarence Brown Conference Center.