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Snellville hires new economic development manager

Photo by Michael Buckelew

Photo by Michael Buckelew

SNELLVILLE -- Snellville is getting back in the growth game with the hiring of its first economic development manager in several years.

"We want to create jobs in Snellville, and in order to create jobs we've got to go out and recruit businesses," Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer said of the move to hire Eric Van Otteren, after replacing the economic development position in the city's budget after a couple years' absence. "We've got a council that believes it's important to create a positive environment through economic development."

Van Otteren, who most recently served as economic development director and community development director for the city of Brunswick, will be charged with working with existing businesses as well as partnering with the Evermore Community Improvement District and Partnership Gwinnett program to add to the city's tax base.

The certified business adviser, who stepped into his role Monday, will have a salary of $63,000.

Oberholtzer said the council has a goal of adding more high-paying jobs, especially in areas related to Emory Eastside Hospital, which is the city's largest employer. The city's employer base now, he said, is heavily influenced by retail.

"I think it's exciting. The council is united behind this whole idea," the mayor said, stressing that it was economic development that had the council members pushing for an end to the city's alcohol by the drink debate earlier this year.

"We need the growth because it helps us prosper, and we want to be the place to be."