Local News

November 8, 2012

Whitfield, Murray to form development agency

Whitfield and Murray County officials want to form a new regional joint development authority (JDA).

Murray County Sole Commissioner Greg Hogan passed a resolution calling for a JDA in his monthly meeting on Tuesday. And Whitfield County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mike Babb said that board will vote on a similar resolution when it meets on Monday.

“It will have a seven-member board. Each county will appoint three members, and one will be jointly appointed,” said Babb.

Hogan was out of town on Wednesday and could not be reached for comment.

Elyse Cochran, the executive director of the Dalton-Whitfield Joint Development Authority, called the agreement between the two governments to form a new JDA a “significant achievement for these two communities.”

“This will allow qualifying manufacturing firms an additional $500 tax credit for all the jobs they create (in Whitfield and Murray counties) against their state income tax liabilities,” Cochran said. “That will take Whitfield County to a $3,000 tax credit for a new job, and it will take Murray County to a $4,000 tax credit for a new job.”

Cochran said the General Assembly has already passed a law allowing counties to form regional joint development authorities.

“Murray and Whitfield counties are the only two counties north of Macon that have not already joined with a contiguous county, and that has put us at a disadvantage,” she said.

While the primary purpose of the new JDA will be to allow firms to qualify for the additional jobs tax credit, Cochran said it will also allow the two counties a venue to work together on projects that will be mutually beneficial.

The new JDA will be separate from the Dalton-Whitfield JDA, but Cochran says she and the staff of that JDA have already been working closely with Murray County development officials, and she says they expect to work well with the new JDA.

Cochran said that after Whitfield commissioners approve the resolution, the two governments can appoint board members to the new JDA and those board members will draft bylaws and a plan of action.

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