Companies slow to commit amid business boom

Albany business is growing. / WFXL

While business is picking up in Albany, some companies are still hesitant to commit.

From 2010 to 2013 Albany has seen the number of projects coming into the city more than triple.

Ted Clem with the Albany Economic Development Commission presented a PowerPoint presentation to commissioner showing that projects that the city has in the works have grown from only 12 in 2010 to 45 this year.

He says this is a positive sign but some business owners still have reservations about bringing their services to southwest Georgia.

"We want them to be profitable. So our job is to show them the ways they can do that here in Albany," said Ted Clem, Director of the Albany EDC.

With the help of the Albany Job Investment fund, leaders say the city is getting more project referrals sent in from state officials.

"Companies are doing their investigative work. They're looking for new locations, they are looking for expansion opportunities but they are a little hesitant on pulling the trigger," said Clem.

He says there are many factors that tie into getting companies to commit. This includes an educated workforce, infrastructure and even quality of life.

Officials say Chehaw has played a significant role in enticing companies to stay, but now the park is in need of help. In Tuesday's city meeting, officials asked commissioners to commit to a $1 million annual investment for the next five years.

"As a city, we've cut back on a number of things, on almost everything that we've done in the last four or five years and to fund an entity at the same level I've got to really see that there's a good return on that investment," said Dorothy Hubbard, Albany Mayor.

Mayor Hubbard wants to know exactly how the money has and will impact the city. James Taylor, Albany's City Manager, says the $1 million payment is not in the city's five year plan.

Chehaw officials say if the funds aren't granted their accreditation is on the line.

"The accreditation looks at all of the aspects of the park from animal care to education to even our finances and they need to know that we have the financial backing stability to be able to care for the animals and to run the park," said Doug Porter, Director at Chehaw.

Commissioners agreed that Chehaw's presence is vital to the economic growth of Albany. They'll vote at a later date on whether or not to grant the funds.

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