Troup County Commission on Tuesday is expected to vote on investing $12,500 for a Chamber of Commerce-contracted study and recruitment group to help attract retailers to Troup County.
“We found a lot of people were not moving into Troup County because of a perceived lack of retail,” Page Estes, LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce president, told commissioners Friday.
The amount in special-purpose, local-option sales tax revenue that the county is missing out on from people who choose to shop in surrounding areas amounts to about $350 million, she said. In order to bring more retail to the county, the chamber is looking to make a three-year, $94,850, consulting contract with Retail Strategies of Birmingham, Ala.
Using a three-step strategy of studying the area, identifying areas where local entrepreneurs can fill gaps in available retail and making contact and setting up a recruitment plan for retailers, the company is supposed to help bring more options to Troup County. Estes said the group works with local retailers, residents, builders and realtors, and will not contract with surrounding counties that Troup is essentially “competing” with for retail sales.
The city of LaGrange already has agreed to pay $12,500, or 25 percent of the first year of the contract, while the LaGrange Downtown Development Authorities has agreed to contribute $2,000. In West Point, the city, DDA and Industrial Development Authority have pledged a collective $5,000. The chamber plans to approach Hogansville for a contribution if Troup throws in $12,500.
County leaders said the $12,500 could be paid from the county’s hotel-motel tax fund collected locally.
Estes said that bringing more retail to the county can help attract more residents, sales tax income and jobs.
In other business, the county on Tuesday is expected to extend its current hiring freeze until Jan. 1, 2013. The county also is expected to vote on a measure to phase in an excise tax on energy sales to manufacturers for receiving local energy sales taxes after a state plan to exempt manufacturers on the state’s portion of energy sales taxes. The plan would mean local governments still get a portion of the tax, but manufacturers still will save about 4 percent from the state.