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Richmond Hill to launch 'Open for Business' program
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The city of Richmond Hill will soon launch a new program it claims will help bring new business to the area and encourage established businesses to expand.

 According to a release from the city, the “Open for Business Initiative” will officially launch April 15.

For one year, the program will suspend all commercial water and sewer connection fees. According to Mayor Harold Fowler, this will help make the city a more attractive place to do business.

“This proposed program will encourage new businesses to come to Richmond Hill, while at the same time encouraging our established businesses to reinvest in our community,” Fowler said. “This is the first step of our council’s objective to create a pro-business environment for our city. The faster (permitting) and lower cost to do business in our community will help attract new jobs and investment into the city.”

 Ultimately, the release states, no fees would be lost. Revenues through the increase in sales tax, water and sewer usage fees and increased customer base would help offset the forgiveness of fees for the year-long program.

 For example, a mid-level retail outlet—20,000 square feet or less—will average sales of $1.5 million in a community the size of Richmond Hill, according to the release, which said this will help rake in on average $45,000 per year in sales taxes into the community.

 A casual dining restaurant averages $2.5 million, according to the release, which would bring in an average of $75,000 per year in local sales taxes.

 Executive Director of the Development Authority of Bryan County Josh Fenn said the program will be a benefit to the entire county.

 “We feel that this program will not only help Richmond Hill, but Bryan County as a whole,” Fenn said in the release. “With expansion and new investment in Richmond Hill, we will be able to broaden our tax base.

“Currently, Bryan County only captures about 12.5 percent of its disposable income with the rest being spent at businesses in other counties. As vacant retail space is absorbed in our market, this will also encourage new construction in our community.”

For more information about the program, contact City Hall at 756-3345 or visit

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