Tuesday’s vote follows a few weeks of discussion after two commissioners balked at the original incentive changes backed by Chairman Lee. Commissioner JoAnn Birrell successfully argued for district commissioner to be able to review an incentive offer for a company relocating to his or her area. Previously the commission chairman would be the only commissioner involved in offering the incentives.
“I think it’s good to get another set of eyes to look at things and ensure we’re getting a good return on our investment,” said Birrell after the vote.
Also included in the revised policies was a requirement requested by Commissioner Bob Ott that the county’s economic development office provide at least an annual status report on all incentives in effect. The review will confirm that the businesses receiving the incentives are meeting the jobs and economic impact requirements required under the incentive plan.
"Besides the sliding scale, there is more transparency in the parts that the board of commissioners has an influence on," said Ott. "With the sliding scale, it is a better plan for the economy that we are currently in and addresses that better."
This year, the county has offered incentives to two companies, according to records from Michael Hughes, Cobb’s economic development director.
Osmotica Pharmaceuticals, which announced its relocation to Cobb in August, received a five-year tax savings on personal property of $564,539. The company brought 156 jobs to the county and an estimated $20 million capital investment.
Negotiations with another company, Project Joseph, could receive a $5,000 cap on building permit fees and business license fees, along with a 10-year real and personal property tax savings of about $609,000. The company could bring 700 jobs to the county and make a $26 million capital investment.