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Donalsonville receives Rural Zone designation

A new day dawns for downtown Donalsonville!

Tax incentives, economic development at the core of the Rural Zone program

The City of Donalsonville has been designated as a Rural Zone. This program is a collaboration between the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Since its creation in 2017, this initiative provides tax credits to individuals creating jobs and making qualifying investments within historic downtown areas that have been designated as Rural Zones. Each designation lasts for five years, and activities to begin earning tax credits within the new Rural Zone begins Jan. 1, 2021. Communities are encouraged to develop strategies and share information about the benefits to businesses and investors.

City Manager Steve Hicks commented, “At a time when funding sources are stretched and the risks of starting a business are increased, the Rural Zone Designation for the City of Donalsonville gives the City a flexible and practical alternative to  provide incentives to investors and businesses for creating jobs and improving downtown properties.”  

If you want to see first hand what this program can do for a community ,you do not have to travel very far. The majority of the activity and renovation projects in downtown Bainbridge is a direct result of that community receiving this same designation two short years ago.

 The program includes the following Georgia state income tax incentives which are utilized for job-creation activities, investment in downtown properties, and renovation of properties. The credits can be layered, but none are available without the job creation element being present.

The Job Tax Credit is equivalent to $2,000 per new full-time equivalent job per year for up to five years. The Investment Credit is equivalent to 25% of the purchase price of a property within the designated Rural Zone (not to exceed $125,000). The Rehabilitation Credit is equivalent to 30% of the qualified rehabilitation costs of a building located within a designated Rural Zone (not to exceed $150,000).

“The Chamber of Commerce is very excited about the Rural Zone Designation,” remarked Donalsonville-Seminole County Chamber of Commerce President Sarah Avery. “The potential benefits are pretty significant for our downtown and in turn, the entire community.  Other towns in our region have been extremely successful forwarding their economic development using the Rural Zone designation.  In the weeks before the new year, when the designation goes into effect, the Chamber of Commerce will meet with our Rural Zone team to develop an effective piece of print marketing that pulls together the Rural Zone tax credits with any other incentives that we can offer.” 

“The Rural Zone tax credits are designed to revitalize downtown by offering credits for creating jobs, investing in and rehabbing existing buildings,” Avery added.  “By offering these credits in conjunction with other incentives, we will be able to attract new businesses, expand on some existing ones and continue the renewal of downtown.  If anyone is interested in learning more about the Rural Zone incentives, call us at the Chamber of Commerce, 229-524-2588, and we’ll be happy to discuss it with you.  We want the entire community to understand what this means for us and to be as excited as we are!”

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