T'ville recruiting Florida seniors - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

T'ville recruiting Florida seniors

Posted June 22, 2005

Thomasville- The city of Thomasville is aggressively trying to steal retirees from Florida. It's an effort to get the people with the most disposable income strengthening the Rose City's tax base.

     Thomasville, a city of roughly 20,000 people; a city with a lot to offer new residents. "They're very pleased with what they see," says Chamber of Commerce President, Don Sims. He's hoping to expand Thomasville by actively recruiting senior citizens from Florida. "Those people have a dramatic impact with their retirement income," says Sims.

     That's a cornerstone in the foundation of Thomasville's economic base Sims is trying to strengthen. His selling point to retirees is the Rose City's convenience. "The cost of living here, the infrastructure that we have, roads, less traffic, less a hassle factor," says Sims.

     One hurdle officials at the Chamber of Commerce are facing is a competition with Florida's wide variety of housing, a challenge they're tackling head on. "We're encouraging our builders to build a wide variety of properties, condos, single family apartments," says Sims.

     Thomasville also has to compete with Florida's lack of income tax. But it's a competition the Peach State may win in the long run. "By 2008 the first 70,000 dollars of retirement income for couples 62 and over will be Georgia income tax exempt," says Sims.

     Another plus for Thomasville is it's biggest employer. "Our largest employment here is in the medical field," says Sims. That's a guarantee for seniors to get fast access to the medical care so many of them need.

     Another factor that may help Thomasville's recruitment is the hurricanes that hit Florida. Sims says their widespread destruction reduces housing there, and creates work senior citizens generally dislike.

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