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November Business of the Month: City of Comer

November Business of the Month: City of Comer

Congratulations to the City of Comer for being selected as November's Business of the Month under the "Government, Education and Individuals" portion of our membership directory. The most populous city in Madison County is led by the following council members and staff:  

  • Mayor: Jimmy Yarbrough 
  • District 1:  Sherman Mattox
  • District 2:  Ron Farren                         
  • District 3:  Laura Minish
  • District 4:  Michael Wilder    
  • City Staff: Mary Anderson (City Clerk) and Donna Hawks (Municipal Court Clerk)                                          

The City of Comer is consistently regarded as a tremendous partner for community organizations throughout the year, as they are actively involved in hosting the Taste of Madison County, the Madison County Agricultural Fair, Pioneer Harvest Festival and the Comer Christmas Parade. The City of Comer recently announced enhancements to Arnold Park and supports beautification efforts downtown. There are more exciting plans to implement aspects of master downtown concept drawings created in conjunction with the UGA College of Environment and Design students.

In addition, their efforts to foster a positive, business-friendly climate to enable economic development have recently been recognized at the state level with a major honor. 

We are pleased to announce that the City of Comer is one of 10 communities statewide to receive the Rural Zone Designation through the Department of Community Affairs and the Department of Economic Development. This designation will begin in January 2023 and last for 5 years. Councilwoman Minish served as the lead contact and applicant on behalf of Comer City Council. 

About the Rural Zone Designation: 

The Rural Zone program targets rural downtown areas that have been adversely impacted by local economic conditions by creating Rural Zones and offering economic development incentives. It differs from other programs at DCA which provide technical assistance and access to capital because it would establish an incentive program to stimulate investment, job creation, and economic development. It also adds in retail opportunities, which are currently excluded from job tax credits. Further, multiple sources can benefit – for instance, a single new coffee shop might provide job tax credits for the local business owner and an investment and rehabilitation credit to a downtown investor.

The Job Tax Credit (JTC) will be $2,000 per new full-time equivalent job per year, up to 5 years and not to exceed $200,000 total or $40,000 per year. New full-time equivalent job means an aggregate of employee worked hours totaling 40 hours per week between two or more employees. At least two net, new full-time equivalent jobs must be created to qualify.  This credit is for the small business owner who opens a storefront within a designated Rural Zone and creates jobs.

The Investment Credit is equivalent to 25% of the purchase price, not to exceed $125,000 total or $25,000 per year. At least two net, new full-time equivalent jobs must be created and maintained to qualify for the investment credit. This credit is for investors who purchase a building within the designated Rural Zone. 

The Rehabilitation Credit is equivalent to 30% of the qualified rehabilitation, not to exceed $150,000 total or $50,000 per year. At least two net, new full-time equivalent jobs must be created and maintained to qualify for the rehabilitation credit.  This credit is to offset development costs associated with the rehabilitation of a property located within a designated Rural Zone.

Eligibility requirements for communities applying for designation:        

  • Cities and counties with a population of less than 15,000
  • Must have a concentration of historic commercial structures at least 50 years old within the zone
  • Must prove economic distress based on poverty rate, vacancy of the downtown area, or blight.
  • Must be in compliance with the state requirements regarding comprehensive planning and reporting, Service Delivery Strategy, Government Management Indicators (GOMI), and the Report of Local Government Finances.
  • Must submit a feasibility study or market analysis identifying business activities that can be supported in the zone
  • Must submit a master plan or strategic plan designed to guide private and public investment

Congratulations to the City of Comer on this honor! We are proud of your hard work and dedication to your citizens and business community. 

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