Communities hang on for their economic lives - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Communities hang on for their economic lives

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The recession has individual communities hanging on for their economic lives. Dougherty County's new economic development leader says for that reason, he'll focus on keeping the industries we have now and helping them succeed.

Part of his plan is to fight a tax on energy that hurts industries trying to produce goods at the lowest cost possible.

Circuit City closed up shop for good over the weekend, leaving about 60 people without jobs. In just a couple of weeks, about 500 employees at Cooper will be let go.

"We're really all about trying to survive the next year," said EDC President Ted Clem.  He doesn't try to paint the picture any prettier than it is. He says the goal for Dougherty County right now is to hang on to what it has.  "We're going to pay close attention to the existing employers that we have here in Albany, make sure we're doing everything we can as a community to help be successful."

One goal is to lobby for the state to drop its tax on energy. "We're one of the few states that tax manufacturers for actual manufacturing processes, so we're trying to get that changed."

"This is a biggie. Not just for P&G, but for industries within the state. We need to eliminate sales tax on energy so that Georgia can compete with other states," said Vince Falcione with Procter and Gamble.  He says the company has the responsibility of looking at the bottom line. The plant that produces the most product at the lowest possible price, gets the work.

He said, "Our sister plants aren't paying and it's hard to compete."

Economic Development will also work with employers to make sure they are providing the type of training that will keep the workforce up to speed and as effective as possible.

The Economic Development Commission and Chamber of Commerce recently reorganized. Clem says the two still work closely with each other and the city and county to make sure they attract and retain businesses that are a good fit for our community.

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