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"Opportunity Zone" could bring tax credits for new jobs
The yellow line outlines the Urban Redevelopment area in central Conyers.

Conyers businesses could soon receive tax credits for creating new jobs.

The Conyers city council approved the creation of an urban redevelopment zone and urban redevelopment authority at the Wednesday night meeting, partly to help businesses receive tax credits for new jobs.

About 425 acres located between West Avenue, Green Street, Ga. Highway 138, and Dogwood Drive would be included in the urban redevelopment zone, which would be in the same area studied under the Livable Communities Initiative plan last year.

"The reason we're doing this is twofold, to allow us to get the opportunity zone funding, (job tax credits) and it's going to allow us to do the two friendly condemnations on Bryant Street," said Assistant City Attorney Carrie Bootcheck, of creating the urban redevelopment zone authority. She described the properties as ones where the ownership was unclear and hard to track down.

Establishing the urban redevelopment authority, which would consist of the city council members, will allow the city to apply for grants and funding opportunities, such applying for an "Opportunity Zone" designation, administered by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. Businesses within the zone can receive up to $3500 in tax credits against the business's income tax liability and state payroll withholding from the state for any jobs created beyond the first two jobs in a business.

"We're not the first ones going down this road," said Councilman Marty Jones. "There are multiple cities throughout the state. And they've been very successful in attracting jobs and economic growth."

Currently, there are 33 other Opportunity Zone designations, including Social Circle and Gwinnett County.

The Urban Redevelopment Plan outlines current revitalization efforts, such as the tax allocation district, and proposed efforts.
Planning Services Director Marvin Flanigan said "We are proposing a zoning district - a mixed use development zoning district, that will cover the landscape requirements, the traffic requirements, the vehicles as well as the pedestrians," for the Opportunity Zone.
"This plan outlines the steps necessary to redevelop central Conyers into an aesthetically pleasing, economically viable, safe and well maintained neighborhood for people of all income levels, ages and lifestyles," reading from the plan's introduction.

The resolution establishing the authority states that "the City hereby declares that a slum area exists in the City" and that "it is in the public interest that the slum areas be redeveloped to the maximum extent practicable."

In other city council business:

- The city council amended the Emergency Management Ordinance to bring it in compliance with state law. The amendment removed from the mayor's powers the ability to "prohibit or regulate the possession, sale or use of explosives, gasoline and other flammable liquids, firearms, ammunition, or dangerous weapons of any kind" in the event of a state of emergency due to a man-made or natural disaster or attack.

- The $17.4 million budget proposed for fiscal year 2011 received a second reading. The third and final reading will be at the council's next meeting.