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State development officials speak in Long Co.
0321 Long LCDA
Tonya Cooper, who is with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, speaks to the Long County Development Authority. - photo by Photo by Mike Riddle
Tonya Cooper, the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s existing industry and regional recruitment project manager, addressed the Long County Development Authority at a meeting in February.
Cooper said her primary responsibility is to work with existing businesses, help them with their needs and recruit new industry to Georgia. She gave a PowerPoint presentation and talked about the LCDA’s options for drawing more industry to the area.
“We make local companies aware of all of the resources available to them, and we recruit businesses from all over the world into Georgia,” Cooper said. “Our goal is to help you place more industry at your industrial park.”
The project manager said Georgia is one of the most attractive states in the nation for new industries for several reasons.
According to Cooper, Georgia was ranked as the fifth-best state for businesses to operate in by Forbes Magazine. It was ranked seventh for having the lowest operating costs. She also said many businesses are drawn to Georgia because of the state’s 6 percent corporate income tax.
“One of the concepts that we want counties to begin doing more often is thinking regionally when trying to bring a business into the area,” Cooper said.
LCDA Chairwoman Christy Wingate said, “We may need to think more about looking at existing businesses in this (regional) area and doing what we can to bring them into Long County.”
The project manager also gave the authority several tips for making the county  more available to industry. “The county needs to make a plan to draw business into your area. Make a list of all of the strengths that the county offers and put it out for businesses to see. It’s obvious (from Long County’s growth) that people are moving over here for some reason,” she said.
Cooper said her organization can help the county find ways to fund projects, such as the proposed railroad spur at the industrial site, and assist in creating a strategic plan to help the county market itself.
In other LCDA business:
• Wingate showed members the 2009-10 Business Images magazine, which has a Long County advertisement on the back cover.
• Wingate reported that the photos on the LCDA’s Web site will soon be replaced with other local pictures. Other changes to the Web site will include emphasizing the education system, hunting and fishing, and the county’s favorable cost-of-living rating.  
• Member Wallace Shaw said he will gather information from the Department of Transportation on waiving some of the requirements for the length of the deceleration lane on Highway 84 at the industrial site. The LCDA is seeking funding for the project.
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