CORDELE, GA (WALB) - A national finance corporation dubbed Cordele the poorest town in the state of Georgia, but residents and leaders believe that may not be the full story.
24/7 Wall Street released the report based on median household income. It also says Cordele has a 49.6 percent poverty rate.
"My first and honest reaction was anger, but I wasn't that surprised," explained Rick Crane, who grew up in Cordele and moved back a couple of decades ago. "We've got a lot to offer around here."
A lot of what Cordele has to offer includes several new businesses opening since the beginning of the year, according to the Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce president Monica Simmons.
However, according to 24/7 Wall Street, Cordele's median household income is $23,294, compared to the state of Georgia's median household income of $51,037.
"We have not really rebounded in our community fully since the recession of 2008," said Simmons. She did say that the city's unemployment rate has been around four or five-percent this year, which is extremely low compared to previous years.
But, Simmons said the poverty rate of 49.6 percent as quoted by 24/7 Wall Street is accurate for Cordele, though Crisp County's unemployment rate is lower, at around 30 percent.
Simmons said the chamber along with the Cordele-Crisp County Industrial Development Council will work on bringing in higher-paying jobs because they believe that may be the key to lowering poverty.
"We don't have the hourly wages, salaries to support families of four or more," explained Simmons.
Crane said he believes his fellow citizens should play a role in making change happen.
"I've always felt citizens need to take an active role in helping elected officials to do their jobs," said Crane.
Crane said he has reached out to all three gubernatorial candidates along with various other lawmakers. He hopes this will be a topic state leaders want to address.