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New jobs could bring tax credits in Conyers
Opportunity Zone status awarded to part of city
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Businesses that create new jobs in certain areas of Conyers can now receive tax credits for those new employees, as part of the city's new Opportunity Zone status.

The status, which was applied for back in the summer of 2010 and recently awarded by the state's Department of Community Affairs, allows new or existing businesses that create a minimum of two new positions to have a tax credit of up to $3,500 per new employee in business or withholding taxes for up to three years.

"We’re proud to have it," City Manager Tony Lucas said of achieving the status at the City Council meeting Wednesday night. "This Opportunity Zone is really something we can use as an economic development tool."

In order to be eligible a business must be in the opportunity zone and must hire at least two workers for newly created positions, who each must work at least 35 hours per week and make at least $21,580 per year.

The hourglass-shaped Opportunity Zone covers the Olde Town district - between West Avenue, Ga. Highway 138, the interstate and Green Street - plus the area between Rockbridge Road, Milstead Road, and Sigman Road, which includes the Irwin Bridge Road corridor. Initially the proposed Urban Redevelopment Area had covered the Olde Town district without the Irwin Bridge Road corridor.

The city will meet with the Conyers-Rockdale Economic Development Council and MainStreet Conyers about using the status for economic development.

Lucas reported that initially the DCA doubted the city could achieve the status, which he described as intending to stimulate growth in areas of economic disrepair. "But we worked hard with the DCA," he said.

Currently at least 34 other cities or counties have Opportunity Zone designated areas, including Covington, Social Circle, Marietta, and Walton County.


In other city business:

- Qualifying fees for the candidates running for city council seats in District 2 Post 2, District 3, and District 4 was set at $27. Those seats are currently held by Councilmen Vince Evans, Marty Jones, and Gerald Hinesley, respectively.

- The city council unanimously voted to re-appoint John Fountain, Daniel Digby, Ashley Frey, and Marty Jones to a four-year term on the Conyers Downtown Development Authority Board. Frey was also reappointed to the Conyer Main Street Board for a two-year term.