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Urban Redevelopment Under Way

Passing its Urban Redevelopment plan last year, the city of Cartersville seems to be making progress with Opportunity Zones and Habitat for Humanity housing.

Approving all the items on its agenda, the Cartersville city council heard from City Planner Richard Osborne an update on the Urban Redevelopment plan approved by city leaders in late 2010.

Osborne said one business — Southern Yarn Dyers, 101 Conyers Industrial Drive — has already taken advantage of Opportunity Zones approved by the state in December for two industrial areas.

The areas staffers deemed the Northwest Industrial and South Industrial zones qualify for state job tax credit of $3,500 per job. It's available to new or existing companies that create two or more jobs and can be taken against the business’s income tax liability and state payroll withholding, according to a letter from Osborne.

He said during the council meeting that staff are working with Americo to also take advantage of those credits.

Another part of the plan is Habitat for Humanity homes, construction of the first of which is slated to begin this month at the corner of Porter and Courrant streets.

Community Development Block Grant Supplemental Disaster Recovery funding of $748,897 will be used to build the single-family homes in the North Towne area in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and the Etowah Housing Authority, Osborne said in the letter. Future homes are proposed for Johnson Street and MLK Jr Drive.

Councilman Dianne Tate said those new homes could incentivize other residents in the area.

Another possible part of the project is funding for home improvement projects on owner-occupied single-family residences in North Towne. Staffers are looking into CDBG grants to cover those costs.

The Wells Street Stormwater Project for drainage improvement — scheduled for completion in May — also will help residents in the MLK Jr Drive, Johnson, Wells and Gilmer streets area. Deteriorated water, sewer and gas lines also are being replaced.

Monday Storms Strike Baseball Netting

The council chose to add a repair item to the agenda. Director Greg Anderson said storms Monday destroyed a portion of the netting at Cartersville Baseball Complex.

The city was to pay only $3,599 for the repair, but during such additional netting began to tear. The council approved an $8,813 payment to replace remain netting, hardware and cable.

Hodge Clarifies Stance on Wage and Salary Study

Addressing apparent backlash stemming from previous comments, Councilman Kari Hodge said at the end of the meeting possible employee wage increases are a budget issue and one on which she would like to continue discussion.

She said the study of surrounding and similar city governments approved by the council last month was one of the "best steps" leaders could have taken to continue talks and would determine if the city can afford to increase payroll.

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