Along with the retreat, the February council meeting will be held Saturday at the Wheeler House, located at 510 Gilmer Ferry Road in Ball Ground. The planning session will begin at 8:30 a.m and be followed by the council meeting at 12 p.m.
On the agenda at the planning session is: a state of the city address by Mayor Rick Roberts; discussion of whether the city can go paperless; a report from City Manager Eric Wilmarth and City Planner Michael Chapman detailing short-term city projects and an update regarding the status of the city’s capital improvement plan; and reports from each committee detailing their respective goals for 2013.
Additionally, the council will be given a presentation by Misti Martin, executive director of Cherokee County’s Office of Economic Development.
Roberts said he hopes to also address some long-term goals with the council, but wants to focus this year on economic development.
“I think it will be educational for council to see how we stack up with other areas of the county as far as incentives and efforts to attract business and industry,” Roberts said.
Roberts said Martin is vital to Cherokee in steering local industry.
“We want to make sure we are competitive and we’ve got all the tools Canton, Holly Springs, Woodstock and Waleska have to make businesses interested in us,” Roberts said.
Roberts said Ball Ground is in a unique position in that an Opportunity Zone, an area of land where tax credits are offered for jobs created, runs from Interstate 575 into Ball Ground city limits. He said he wants council to be “fully aware” of the potential business that could be attracted to the site.
Martin said she hopes to walk city leaders through the economic development process and how Ball Ground officials can be proactive to ensure there is available space for new businesses to come into the city.
“The fact that the Opportunity Zone stretches into city limits is very encouraging,” Martin said.
She added that 64 percent of companies looking into potentially opening in Cherokee have expressed interest in sites and buildings located in Opportunity Zones.
“That shows how attractive they are,” Martin said. “That’s a huge plus for Ball Ground.”