County to consider economic incentives

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett's economic future could be determined on Tuesday.

Commissioners will consider giving economic incentives to companies wishing to locate to the suburban county for the first time in at least two decades.

In the past, officials haven't had to act to draw businesses to the fast-growing area, but Chairman Charles Bannister has been concerned about a shift in the county's tax base that puts more of a burden on homeowners.

He has led the charge for the creation of an economic development program, which will be considered in Tuesday's meeting.

County Administrator Jock Connell said he has not yet decided how the program would function within the government but three employees have been allocated in the 2006 budget.

According to the ordinance under consideration, incentives could include reduction of development impact fees and fees for permits, reduction of business occupation taxes and water/sewer charges and/or acceleration of the development review process and hearing dates. To quality, the proposal states a business must add at least 25 new jobs and have an estimated fiscal impact of at least $500,000.

Connell said the ordinance would establish the county policy but the county does not yet have a proposal from a business. The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce would still take the lead of drawing businesses to the county, he said.