Gwinnett leaders announce stimulus package

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Gwinnett leaders are planning their own stimulus package, strategizing to boost public and private sector spending and convincing banks to give their own incentives to boost the housing market.

During a press conference Friday, officials said the program could have a $1 billion impact on the local economy.

"Three years ago anyone who wanted to buy a house could do so, but today there are people who would like to own and can afford a home but cannot get qualified because of the tight credit markets," said The Brand Banking Company CEO Bartow Morgan, who heads the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce board "We have too much of a supply of residential lots in Gwinnett County and until the supply is gone all home prices will remain depressed. Our ultimate goal through these residential stimulus measures is to help stabilize and increase house values for all homeowners."

The local government and nonprofits collaborated to put together a package to create something similar to the federal homebuyer tax incentives, which expired in April, including a $5,000 down payment incentive for newly constructed homes prices up to $205,000.

Leaders are also encouraging businesses and the government to spend money within the county.

A Web site was launched for the effort at www.letsdobusinessgwinnett.com.

"When communities and neighbors work together for the common good, everybody wins -- local businesses, employees, citizens and county government," Commission Chairman Charles Bannister said. "I encourage all Gwinnett citizens to make a conscious effort to do business locally."