Economic Development Council Annual Report

Economic Development Council Annual Report

by Elizabeth Umberson
ZF Industries, Inc.
Chairman, Gainesville-Hall Co. Economic Development Council

The Gainesville-Hall County Economic Development Council (EDC) is a partnership of business and government leaders that seeks to encourage quality job and investment growth from new businesses, existing industries and quality retail development.

The EDC and the Greater Hall Chamber report that for the fiscal year 2006 (July 1, 2005-June 30, 2006), 19 new and expanded industries created more than 600 new jobs and invested over $143 million in new capital investment projects in Gainesville-Hall County. The EDC’s objective for investment was $ 75 million in 2005-06, surpassing their goal by $ 68 million.

In 2005-2006, capital investment grew 21% over the previous year. Despite the growth in job creation from 2003 to 2006, job growth has slowed relative to capital investment. These results reflect a national trend from manufacturers and businesses to hire fewer people relative to dollars of capital investment. Among the 19 firms that contributed new capital investments and job creation in 2005-2006, 14 were existing industry expansions and five firms new to the Gainesville-Hall County MSA.

The expansions at Wrigley and Fieldale made up a large part of this year’s capital investment and job creation. Manufacturing and food processing represented 75% of the activity, with distribution, call center and other firms making up the remainder.

The growth of commercial and industrial investments is good for our community as it helps keep property taxes low for Gainesville-Hall County residents. On average, households consume $1.20 in local government services and schools for every dollar of property tax revenue local governments earn from households. In contrast, commercial and industrial businesses consume $0.80 in local government services and schools for every dollar of property tax revenue earned from those businesses.

New EDC Initiatives for 2006- 2007 include:
€ Retail Development Initiative
€ Supervise training via newsletter for Drugs Don’t Work
€ Commercial Broker Gatherings
€ Statewide Developer/Commercial Broker Mailings
€ Partner with developers to encourage new industrial, office and retail parks/developments
€ Expand the EDC’s public-private partnership role
€ Support the new Manufacturing Development Center and the proposed High Performance
Technology centers at Lanier Technical College
€ Initiate improvements to Gainesville-Hall County’s primary source for economic development
information at
€ Support the construction of a South Hall Campus of the Northeast Georgia Medical Center
€ Update marketing materials and a renewed emphasis on media opportunities for the area
€ Facilitate ideas from the VISION 2030 process