The council met in a work session Tuesday where they discussed how the plan and zones could benefit the city.
An opportunity zone is a state designated area in which employers can receive state tax credits if they create new jobs there.
To have a zone the community must establish a redevelopment plan. Hiram is working with Paulding County to create a joint plan between the two entities with the assistance of Paulding Economic Development.
According to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs website local governments undertake creation of the zones so businesses can qualify for the state tax credit, which is a maximum of $3,500 per job created.
“The incentive, which is available for new or existing businesses that create two or more jobs [in a year], is a Job Tax Credit which can be taken against the business’ Georgia income tax liability and payroll withholding tax,” according to the Department of Community Affairs.
Hiram City Manager Robbie Rokovitz said the council plans to vote on a draft form of the redevelopment plan at its Tuesday meeting.
“The primary reasons [for the opportunity zones] are retention and recruitment [of businesses],” he said.
Post 1 council member Prather “Pep” Rollins said, “My initial feeling is it is going to be good for us.”
He said he planned more study of the job recruitment program.
Jamie Gilbert, executive director of Paulding Economic Development, said six of seven companies his agency recruited to Paulding this year are in opportunity zones in the Dallas and unincorporated areas. The seventh company is planned to be in one of the new zones if created, he said.
“We have seen the power of the opportunity zones to bring business to Paulding County,” he said.
If the new zone is established, most of the existing industries in Paulding would be in an opportunity zone.
Gilbert said he hopes the plan is passed by both the county and Hiram and sent to the Department of Community Affairs by Aug. 31.
This should be allow enough time for state officials to approve the plan by December so any company in the zones which has met the guidelines in 2013 will receive the tax credits, Gilbert said.