According to Douglas County spokesman Wes Tallon, the county’s economic development authority is not an element of county government but an independent authority.
“Douglas County contributes to it financially and members of the development authority’s board are appointed by the county,” Tallon said. “Both Douglas County and the Douglas County Economic Development Authority have bond issuing capabilities. However, the Douglasville authority is an element of Douglasville government."
Douglasville Economic Development Director Jeff Noles said he works closely with Douglasville Mayor Harvey Persons regarding city economic development issues and objectives.
While county commissioners Mike Mulcare and Ann Jones Guider believe it would be in the best interest of the Douglas County area for the two economic development entities to merge, Noles said, as it now stands, the city and county have somewhat different initiatives.
“However, I believe with proper planning, anything is possible and can be accomplished,” he said of any possible merger.
Noles said Douglasville and Douglas County have a number of different initiatives that each is pursuing and, in the current situation, it would be difficult for one economic development entity to represent both city and county interests.
“There may be a potential for saving money if our area’s economic development entities were combined but, as of now, I haven’t seen a plan to do that,” he said.
Mulcare said it would be a tremendous advantage for a community to, “have a single voice, a single vision and a single initiative.”
“I just don’t think we are well served by having two economic development authorities,” he said.
Guider said she has always supported the idea of consolidating the two economic development entities as she sees no reason to have two separate ones.
“It would be much easier for us as a community to have those companies or businesses looking to come into Douglas County to have a single economic development authority to contact and work with,” she said.
Noles said if an economic development authority is “not out there making contracts for itself, no one else will.”
Mulcare said it has always been his belief that “what is good for Douglas County municipalities is good for the county and visa versa.”
“Douglas County makes no distinction by municipal government boundaries when it comes to recruiting companies and bringing jobs to our county,” he said.
Mulcare said companies wishing to expand or relocate to another area are looking for that area to have “a united voice and a united vision within a community,” he said.
“I don’t see economic development in Douglas County or its cities as a ‘we versus them’ situation,” he said.
“I feel a divided economic development front would be a challenge for companies.”