LaGrange, Georgia: A Thriving City

LaGrange is enjoying a period of unprecedented progress for the city. Evidence of progress is all over town, and it’s just getting started. When Jim told the voters in 2013 what he planned to do, he meant it and he’s made real progress happen.

No community is sustainable over the long term without jobs and job growth. Jim knows that jobs are created by the private sector, but he also knows that cities can either help or impede job growth. During his tenure, Jim has constantly looked for ways to accelerate job growth and to assist private businesses in locating and expanding in LaGrange. The results have been remarkable.

Jobs & Employment

Four years ago, in June 2013, the City of LaGrange had an unemployment rate of 10.8%. Fast forward to June 2017, that unemployment rate is down to 5.3% and continues to trend downward. This is robust job growth by any standards, and is attributable in part to the support the City has provided to local industries as they have grown and expanded their businesses.

These employment numbers are about to get even better, because just in the past year alone, private businesses announced plans to invest over one billion dollars and to create over 2000 new jobs in LaGrange. Those investments include new industries such as Sentury Tire, the first major Chinese manufacturer to locate in Georgia, which chose LaGrange after looking at 60 different cities in 20 different states. But these investments also include major expansions such as Jindal Films, which decided to move its corporate headquarters and research and development center from New York to LaGrange, and Duracell, which, after being in business in LaGrange for over 30 years, decided to expand operations in LaGrange and relocated its business center operations here.

Tourism

And these investments aren’t just about manufacturing, but also tourism. Great Wolf Lodge’s decision to build a resort in LaGrange is rapidly transforming Exit 13. Retail investment from Dunham’s Sports and Hobby Lobby will rejuvenate the LaGrange Mall. And one of the most talked about investments is the new Courtyard by Marriott hotel on Lafayette Square in downtown LaGrange. All of these projects represent private sector investment in our community and the creation of jobs for all of our citizens.

Elected officials have a duty to protect the public’s tax money, and Jim takes that charge seriously. LaGrange operates with a balanced budget, with a healthy cash reserve, and with very limited bond debt. The City has not levied a property tax in 20 years, which is very unusual for any city, and continually receives accolades from state review agencies that monitor city finances and operations.