As part of our ongoing efforts to attract business investment and jobs, the Stephens County Development Authority has created economic incentive programs, particularly supporting industrial development. The primary objectives of these incentives are to create new jobs paying good wages or to retain existing jobs. Federal and state incentives may also be available.

Toccoa-Stephens County Incentives Program for New and Existing Manufacturing Industries

The Asking Price for land in the Hayestone Brady Business Park is $35,000 per acre. For qualified clients (based on job and investment), however, the Stephens County Development Authority may reduce the price of a 10-acre site of choice from $35,000 per acre to $5,000 per acre (from $350,000 to $50,000): a savings to the qualified company of $300,000.

Toccoa-Stephens County will for three (3) years reserve for qualified clients sufficient adjacent land to construct a contemplated expansion. Land can be configured to accommodate expansion of original building or a separate free-standing building. After three (3) years, client will have a first right of refusal to purchase adjacent land.

Based on jobs created and investments in building and equipment, Stephens County will provide a pad-ready, +/-2’ of final grade building site, for a facility up to 125,000 square-feet in size as well as grading for up to 100 parking spaces and a truck apron at a HBBP site at no cost to the company. The actual grading costs and value of the incentive will be dependent on construction specifications and the site location.

The City of Toccoa has an aggressive pricing schedule for utilities to industries. Additionally, Toccoa will consider reducing fees associated with tapping into the water system. This reduction would be negotiated between the company and representatives from the City and is based on projected usage. Based on jobs created and investment in building and equipment, the City of Toccoa will construct, at no cost to the company or client, the required water lines to sites in the HBBP. 

The City of Toccoa has an aggressive pricing schedule for utilities to industries. Additionally, Toccoa will consider reducing fees associated with tapping into the natural gas system. This reduction would be negotiated between the company and representatives from the City and is based on projected usage. Based on jobs created and investment in building and equipment, the City of Toccoa will construct, at no cost to the company or client, the required gas service lines to sites in the HBBP. 

The City of Toccoa will install wastewater lines to the selected site at Hayestone Brady Business Park at no cost to the company or client. All sites can be served by the collection system in place in the park, but the location and length of the connecting line will be dependent upon site selection and facility layout. The Authority proposes to apply for grant funds to construct the line once a tenant is identified but commits without reservation to have the line constructed with local funds if grant funding is not available. The value of this incentive will be dependent on the site selected.

The Stephens County Development Authority and Stephens County are committed to helping provide rail service for inbound and outbound freight to the Hayestone Brady Business Park. Engineering is complete and construction documents are at GDOT for approval to run a spur off the Hartwell RR line into HBBP. With local funding, Stephens County will complete the grading for the spur into the park. Then Stephens County will assist Hartwell RR in attempting to leverage a project to gain state and/or federal funding to install the actual trackage from the mainline into the park and then on to the building. The Authority will aggressively pursue state and federal grant financing for the rail line construction cost, estimated to be $500,000 to $700,000 depending on its length. The Authority proposes to apply for funding once a tenant is identified. Any tenant creating 50 or more jobs will allow the community to be highly competitive for up to $500,000 in infrastructure grants.

The client will bear no upfront charges for any construction necessary for Georgia Power or Hart EMC to bring the required service to the elected site within the Hayestone Brady Business Park. Georgia Power maintains a substation within the park.

The Stephens County Development Authority is constitutionally enabled to issue both tax exempt and taxable industrial revenue bonds with lease payments suitable to any terms a client or their investment banker and the laws of Georgia will allow. These bonds are a means of conduit financing that often provide the user with lower interest rates and allows for a negotiated investment Fee/Payment in Lieu of Taxes. Bond financing may be used for project-related costs of land, facilities or machinery and equipment. The investment cap for tax-exempt industrial revenue bonds is $20 million making bond financing an attractive vehicle. Technically, SCDA retains title to the property and improvements for the life of the bond and leases the project to the user. The typical IRB fee to the SCDA is ¼ of 1 percent and an annual administrative fee to the Authority during the ad valorem tax abatement period in the amount of $1,500.00. (On a $120M project this would amount to $300,000. The SCDA will cap its IRB fee at $100,000).

The figures provided in this section are for illustration purposes to provide an example of a negotiated abatement structure. All ad valorem tax abatements are negotiated on an individual basis to ensure our competitiveness for a given project. The schedule below provides an outline of what might be negotiated. Via an SCDA Industrial Revenue Bond and for certain manufacturers' capital improvements, real and personal, the city and/or county portion of the ad valorem tax may be exempted. Term is based on size of investment and number of jobs.

For example:

  • for an investment from $5M-$25M and/or the creation of 5-25 jobs, SCDA will grant 3-year ad valorem tax relief on a phased basis as follows: Year 1 – 100 percent, Year 2 – 67 percent, Year 3 – 33 percent, Year 4 and thereafter – 0 percent.
  • for an investment from $25M-$50M and/or the creation of 25-50 jobs, SCDA will grant 5-year ad valorem tax relief on a phased basis as follows: Year 1 – 100 percent, Year 2 – 80 percent, Year 3 – 60 percent, Year 4 – 40 percent, Year 5 – 20 percent, Year 6 and thereafter – 0 percent.
  • for an investment from $50M-$100M and/or the creation of 50-100 jobs, SCDA will grant 7-year ad valorem tax relief on a phased basis as follows: Year 1 – 100 percent, Year 2 – 85 percent, Year 3 – 70 percent, Year 4 – 55 percent, Year 5 – 40 percent, Year 6 – 25 percent, Year 7 – 15 percent, Year 8 and thereafter – 0 percent.
  • for an investment exceeding $100M and/or the creation of 100 or more jobs, SCDA will grant 10-year ad valorem tax relief on a phased basis as follows: Year 1 – 100 percent, Year 2 – 90 percent, Year 3 – 80 percent, Year 4 – 70 percent, Year 5 – 60 percent, Year 6 – 50 percent, Year 7 – 40 percent, Year 8 – 30 percent, Year 9 – 20 percent, Year 10 – 10 percent, and Year 11 and thereafter – 0 percent.

In the state of Georgia the sale, use, storage or consumption of energy that is necessary and integral to the manufacture of tangible personal property at a manufacturing plant in Georgia shall be exempt from all sales and use taxation except for the sales and use tax for educational purposes.  This includes energy used directly or indirectly in a manufacturing facility.  The exemption is being phased out by 25 percent each year beginning on January 1, 2013, and reaching 100 percent on January 1, 2016.  Stephens County and Toccoa also provide exemptions on their portion of sales and use taxation on energy used in the manufacturing process.

Stephens County provides the maximum personal property tax exemption on business inventory allowable under Georgia law, 100 percent, on three classes of eligible property: Manufacturer’s raw materials and goods-in-process inventory; Manufacturer’s finished goods held by the original manufacturer; and Warehouse, distribution, or manufacturing firms with finished goods destined to be shipped outside of Georgia.

Georgia offers a range of corporate tax credits that enable companies to minimize or completely eliminate state corporate income taxes which, at six percent, are already among the lowest in the nation. As of January 1, 2014, Stephens County’s Tier status for Job Tax Credit purposes is Tier 2. Under current legislation, when a company locates in Stephens County and creates 10 qualified jobs, the company qualifies for Georgia’s Job Tax Credit. To qualify jobs must be full-time, offer health insurance benefits consistent with what is offered to existing employess and pay more than the average wage of the county with the lowest average wage in the state ($426/week as of 2014).  For each year (up to five years) the jobs are maintained, the company can claim a tax credit with a value of $2,500 per job, per year, applied toward 100 percent of its Georgia Corporate Income Tax Liability. These tax credits can only be applied against a company’s Georgia corporate income tax liability. This does not apply to properties designated as Opportunity Zones.

Furthermore, an additional $500 credit is offered because Stephens County participates in a multi-county joint development authority. Unused job tax credits may be carried forward ten years.

Several sites in Stephens County are located in a state-designated Opportunity Zone. Businesses of any nature, locating in these sites, creating at least two net full-time permanent jobs (at least 35 hours per week), with offered health insurance, may claim a job tax credit of $3,500 per job. (Note: Health insurance just has to be offered, not paid for and the two jobs may not be filled by a married couple.) Credit may be applied against 100 percent of any corporate income tax liability on the Georgia Income Tax Return. (Credit may not be applied to net worth tax liability.) Unused credit can then be used to offset Payroll Withholding.

The State of Georgia and Stephens County may provide an exceptional, pre-trained workforce at no cost to a company locating in the county
through Georgia’s nationally acclaimed Quick Start training program, which offers sophisticated customized training, jointly developed with the company. This program covers development of all training plans and materials, plus actual training conducted in the company’s facilities or in Stephens County’s state-of-the-art technical college. While not readily quantifiable, this incentive will be measured by the company’s ability to immediately begin production with a fully-qualified workforce. In addition, the Currahee Campus of North Georgia Technical College in Stephens County continually enhances our workforce with diploma and certification programs directly related to industry needs.

The labor draw area for Toccoa-Stephens County includes six Georgia counties (Banks, Franklin, Habersham, Hart, Rabun, and Stephens) and two South Carolina counties (Anderson and Oconee). Skilled workers are available from the unemployed, underemployed, and employed ranks.

Toccoa-Stephens County has a 100-year record of growing and supporting dynamic, international and family-owned, manufacturing facilities. Today, Toccoa-Stephens County boasts operations such as American Woodmark, Winchester, VA; Applegate Insulation, Webberville, MI; Caterpillar, Peoria, IL; Coats & Clark, Charlotte, NC; Dewtex, Lancashire, England; Eaton, Cleveland, OH; ITR (ASI Industries), Yonkers, NY; Lanier Clothes, Atlanta, GA; Sage Automotive Interiors, Greenville, SC; Patterson Pump, Mansfield, OH; Standard Register, Dayton, OH; and Trachte, Oregon, WI.

Through the years, Toccoa-Stephens County has had considerable success in recruiting and supporting successful manufacturing concerns and possesses an experienced and trained labor force that is virtually non-union within the county.

The SCDA is open to discussions and negotiations on other possible incentives that may be of interest to the client based on jobs created and investments in real and personal property.


The SCDA is responsible for the recruitment of new businesses including industrial, manufacturing, distribution, corporate and regional headquarters and customer service centers. It also provides support and assistance with all other types of economic development projects.

The SCDA also works with existing businesses and industries to ensure their continued success. While recruitment of new industry is a significant function, aiding in existing industry expansion and retention is just as significant. About 80 percent of all new jobs in Georgia come as a result of existing industry expansion.

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A couple of years ago, the Stephens County Development Authority informed us that we were located in an Opportunity Zone which qualified us for tax credits that were applied to our GA payroll taxes for adding new employees. We were able to realize these savings. We are thankful to our local development authority for making sure that we were taking advantage of all the tax credits available to us. -
From the beginning of our interest in moving to Toccoa-Stephens County, the Stephens County Development Authority made regular trips to our office to make sure we are adjusting to our new home and acclimated to the community resources in Stephens County. They provided a wealth of information on Georgia Business Incentives and tax incentives specific to Stephens County. They introduced us to many connections in Stephens County. We now are well connected with the Department of Labor and attend their monthly meeting and after SCDA's help with some paperwork we have taken advantage of GDOL's Incumbent Worker Program. The Development Authority also shared their long list of local vendors with us and we were able to find our utilities provider, an insurance agent, a computer technician and research local CPAs. Basically, the SCDA is our go to. If we can't figure it out or just need some guidance on an issue we don't hesitate to pick up the phone and call. We definitely appreciate the Stephens County Development Authority's efforts to make Toccoa a great place to do business. They truly make us feel welcome and appreciated in Stephens County! -
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