Gordon County’s economic rating in Georgia remains stagnant, according to The Georgia Department of Community Affairs yearly report.
Each year the DCA ranks all 159 counties in Georgia based on certain economic factors and divides the counties into one of four tiers. Gordon County fell to tier two in 2010, and according to this year’s report, that is where Gordon County remains.
“Gordon County is a tier two county, which means we are not doing so hot economically compared to those in tier three and four,” City of Calhoun Administrator Eddie Peterson said. “The positive of being a one or two is that companies can get better tax breaks for hiring new employees.”
Tier one is made up of the lowest 71 counties — which include Murray, Whitfield, Chattooga and many counties from the southeastern part of the state. As a tier-one county, if a business creates two full-time jobs it can receive $3,500 per job, according to a letter from DCA Commissioner Gretchen Corbin to multiple departments around the state.
As a tier-two county — which includes 35 counties including Gordon, Gilmer, Fannin and 32 other counties scattered throughout Georgia — if a business creates 10 new full-time jobs it is eligible to receive a $2,500 per job tax credit.
Also, since Gordon County is a joint development authority, it can offer an extra $500 to a business that meets the tax credit qualifications on job creation, according to President of the Chamber of Commerce Kathy Johnson.
Tier three — which include Bartow, Floyd, Catoosa, Walker, Dade and 30 other counties in Georgia — can offer $1,250 per job in tax credits if the business creates 15 full-time jobs.
The DCA puts the top 18 counties in tier four, which include Pickens, Cherokee and Paulding County. In a tier four a county can offer a $750 per job tax credit if the business creates 25 new full-time jobs.
“Your tier status reflects the economic vitality of the community,” Johnson said.
Since there are only a set number of counties that can be placed in each tier, one county’s economic performance can have an impact on other county’s standings.
“If there is a catastrophic job loss in a county, or a major gain…it could cause other counties to move,” Johnson said.
The program began under Roy Barnes during his term as Governor, and is an attempt to incentivise lower economically challenged communities with a tax credit, according to Johnson.
“We will maintain our standing this year, and be reassessed next year,” Johnson said.
Economically speaking, she believes there is a positive future for Gordon County, and the potential for economic growth that could lead to moving up in the tier classification.
“I feel this community is changing…so we can remain competitive between our neighboring communities,” Johnson said.