The Bryan County Development Authority recently sat down to a day-long workshop where topics ranged from goals and priorities for the year to the latest tax digest.
"We felt like this was a good workshop. It gives us time to get our thoughts and ideas together and set an agenda for the year," Chairman Sean Register said.
"All of our board members are working really well together, and I see them playing a bigger role in this upcoming year with everything we’re doing," Director Jean Bacon added.
One thing the group did during the workshop was revise its vision statement.
Their previous vision statement was to "lead the vision for planned quality growth in Bryan County."
Now, the Development Authority "will be the coastal region’s premier authority for attracting and retaining business and industrial growth."
Bacon said the group is still in the process of going over its "work to be accomplished" list.
"We’re calling our original 272 acres (of the Industrial Centre) Phase I, and then the 505 acres that were purchased, we’re partnering with Technology Park Atlanta, and that’s phase II. Phase III is the 298 acres from Haiseal Timber Company," she explained.
"We still have a considerable amount of work to complete on Phase I, and Phase II has just gotten approval from the board. We selected a bid for the roadway, so that work has just begun for us. And as far as Phase III, we’re not in as big of a rush with that right now."
The group also discussed increasing its marketing and recruitment for a new project manager, a maintenance manager and an accountant.
The DA said the county needs to work to increase business retention, in particular with Oracal, Oneida, DKW Logistics, Hobart, Express Packaging and Global Commodities.
Bacon said there is a lot to accomplish in this next year, and it’s going to keep the Development Authority busy.
"I think we will be successful in everything we’re working towards," she said.
The 2006 Tax Digest Summary for Bryan and surrounding counties showed the group some percentages they weren’t surprised to see.
A tax digest is a listing of all property and property values in the county. It includes real estate, personal property, and exempt property, creating the basis on which property taxes are calculated. Residential was the top of the tax digest, making up over 72 percent of Bryan County. The average out of the 10 surrounding counties was 59 percent residential.
On the other hand, Bryan County was considerably lower in its industrial makeup of the tax digest, ranking in third to last place at about eight-tenths of a percent.
Bulloch and Chatham ranked highest, and the 10-county average was over five percent industrial.
In the Georgia Department of Revenue’s "Ten Year Snapshot of Growth in the Tax Base," from 1995 to 2005, the county’s gross digest increased 162 percent, or $877.5 million dollars.
While residential tax base growth has gone up 220 percent, industrial has only increased 43 percent and agriculture only 15 percent.
"All we’re trying to do is bring more industry into the county. These are good industries that would bring jobs and offset the tax base from the homeowner," Register said.